The site has been running since April 2009 and attracted visitors from:

Afghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Croatia, Cyprus,  Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man,  Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, New Brunswick,  Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga,  Tunisia, Turkey,  Ukraine, UK, United Arab Emirates, USA, Venezuela and Vietnam.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please – or, if you have a thought, comment or message regarding the site as whole, particular pages and/or specific pieces please enter it below. (Your email address will remain private and confidential. If you would like me to post a comment on the site but withhold your name, please let me know).

To post a comment directly on a specific piece of work, put the cursor over the title. A window opens: ‘Permanent link toFAR ABOVE RUBIES’, for example. Click on the window. Below the text of the poem, you will see, highlighted in blue, ‘leave a response’. Click on that.

I had thought originally that I should respond to each comment posted – not least, out of politeness. Then I thought that I was in danger of seeming like the troll under the bridge in the Grimm fairy tale – and therefore should only respond when it was appropriate to do so. I am, nevertheless, very keen to enter into conversations.

Many thanks.


  1. #1 by Rob Golding - May 28th, 2009 at 07:26

    Congratulations on the launch and the very best wishes with the new site. I like the layout and ease of use – plain and effective. Good to navigate too.

  2. #2 by David - May 29th, 2009 at 09:10

    I was aiming to ensure that the site itself would be a quality product: that the aim has been achieved is down to the web architect and engineer, Sam Hutchinson –

  3. #3 by John H - June 1st, 2009 at 23:04

    PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST has a great feel to it – a spellbinding grip on two lives sharing the same outlook, or is it two outlooks sharing the same life!? Anyway – it was a piece of magic, with a glimpse of how the Life in Liverpool was after all rewarding.

    And a great project! A beacon to us all!

  4. #4 by David - June 3rd, 2009 at 19:45

    I hadn’t thought of the piece being about perceptions of, and perpectives on, the past but, of course, they’re at the heart of memory, selecting the supposed facts.

    ‘Life in Liverpool’ – a capital pun!

    It would be good if other poets saw the light but a book in the hand perhaps is still worth two on the web to some.

  5. #5 by Lesley Johnson - June 11th, 2009 at 13:46


    How lovely to come face to face with that photo of a Wise Man from the (North) West! It puts me in mind of an old story concerning another pic of Mr Selzer.

    Some years after the publication of his collection, ‘Elsewhere’, our hero, finding himself in Charing Cross Road, was minded to test out Foyle’s famous claim to stock every book in the English Language currently in print. Would he indeed find his work still there? Answer arrived in the warming affirmative. Proudly he took his volume from the shelf, opened it, scanned a page at random, and was spontaneously moved to uncap his pen and boldly sign just below the author’s name.

    A female voice hissed at his shoulder – and just what did he think he was doing defacing shop property? The explanation that all he was up to was signing his own book and thus enhancing its value (“Here I am on the back cover photo!”) cut no ice. She saw absolutely no resemblance between this criminal and that poet! (And indeed the addition of a fine beard plus several years of sybaritic living had somewhat altered the erstwhile wide eyed boy wonder).

    Things were soon straightened out thanks to Driving Licence etc., and mutual apologies tendered. However, it must be said that, as our accomplished wordsmith, left he was muttering a couple of very overworked phrases.

  6. #6 by john plummer - July 24th, 2009 at 08:42

    Have now made a little time to browse and enjoy your writings. Although I am no poet, I realise – and it is no surprise – we are moved by a similar muse. Tiny stories that illuminate the world, landscapes that echo the generations, cruelties from which we never escape, beauty in all its forms, a sense of history that connects to the present – and more.

  7. #7 by David - July 26th, 2009 at 15:44


    A nice summation of the themes, John – and ‘tiny stories’ feels just right.

  8. #8 by John Plummer - August 22nd, 2009 at 11:17

    Enjoyed the latest five poems, particularly THE HEART’S TESTIMONY –

    You will not have written this rather bleak perspective on fractured, deceptive histories just to provoke me but it deserves a counterweight (albeit prosaic). There is a compelling beauty, even purity, about the remote past. We connect with it both intelligently and imaginatively. The famed sites, like Skara Brae, stun the senses and tell an undisguised story of lives lived confidently with an enterprise and tenacity we have lost. The villagers left by the back door just before we arrived – or so it feels. Life and community worked until the elements betrayed them.

    The many clusters of hut circles, burial/ceremonial sites, and fields – barely detectable traces until our sated vision is better focused, are everywhere, ancestors for our common humanity. Science keeps unravelling more clues to these ancient landscapes. But our minds can excavate the connections. Fulfilment rather than emptiness.

  9. #9 by Arthur Kemelman - August 29th, 2009 at 13:46


    I don’t quite agree with John Plummer’s interpretation of this rather beautiful and sad poem. I think David is not talking about a particular site but rather about how, as we get older, we become gumshoes, detectives, etc. seeking to fathom and understand and explore our own personal history, the ‘deceiving legacy of meanings’, that we encounter in our mind. True, there are elements of a physical site in the poem, describing the town where the poet originally grew up and which he is now visiting. But what is important to the poet is not a particular physical landscape but the mental landscape of today, that exists in his mind.

  10. #10 by Mark Chapman - August 31st, 2009 at 16:12


    For me there are two things that I draw from the poem, both of them from the same line – ‘its deceiving legacy of meanings’.

    The poem is reminding me that we like to pick and choose what we remember consciously, much of which alters as we get older to fit with our present image of our former selves.

    The other thing that strikes me is how we like to transpose our values onto history, and use them to understand our archeaology. The stones, tiles and amulets are more honest than our interpretations – or the words that followed in later centuries.

  11. #11 by John Huddart - September 9th, 2009 at 21:44


    Arthur is dead close to a quite bleak poem where personal history and belonging are seen when peeled away to reveal that nothing has value in the end. I too was very touched by the poem – because I know the landscape David describes, and what it means to him – his usual delight to be Hoole’s gumshoe burnt to ash.

  12. #12 by SCES - September 14th, 2009 at 14:11

    On reading the opening of THE MEMORIAL – – for the first time, I had thought that the story was going to take us through a pedantic journey of Edward’s life – ‘son inherits estate, son meets new love and ditches old love etc. etc.’

    What emerges is a unique and compelling narrative set against the background of the aftermath of WW1 and a changing world. The challenges that Edward faces are related to real events in a fictionalised form and, because they are not presented in the usual melodramatic way – we all recognise the ‘will they won’t they escape’ mining disaster scenario!, they have a contemporary feel.

    The final unveiling of the memorial of the title has a resonance with the similar calling of names at Ground Zero and the recent opening of the UK’s national war memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire – The individual stainless steel pillars erected to the victims of the London July 7th bombings – – this summer is almost an updating of THE MEMORIAL’s final scene. Uncanny!

  13. #13 by Lesley Johnson - September 17th, 2009 at 10:35

    4TH AUGUST 1944 –

    I like this a lot, not least because it makes me ponder upon whether or not Dad was justified in publishing the diary. As Anne wanted to be famous, I guess he was. But had she cherished her privacy (as do most teenagers) I should feel otherwise, and this despite the fact that countless youngsters have been ‘reached’ by her words, and the play, and the film.

    This aspect of authors’ rights has patently been gnawing at me for decades. In the 70s at some Edinburgh Festival Writers’ Conference, focus Biography – Antonia Fraser et al on the platform – I had the chance to put my question:

    Which is the worse crime after a death – to destroy the work which a writer fully intended to publish (as John Murray did Byron’s)? Or to publish work the writer had requested should be destroyed (as John Middleton Murry did Katherine Mansfield’s)? …

    Pity that mine was the final question of the afternoon – we exited still arguing.

    I leave it on the table.

  14. #14 by Emma Boden - September 17th, 2009 at 16:59

    Dear David,

    At last my turn to have a peruse and there is much to inspire and touch in what I have read so far: Anne Frank, First Date, In Memoriam and the one that mentions Ella Fitzgerald – I was tempted to click on her name. Will come back and visit again when I have another window in my day.

    One of the joys of poetry, for me anyway, is the possibility of a quick dip, and the chance that even a very few words can get one thinking, sometimes re-thinking and sometimes for days.

    Emma x

  15. #15 by Geoff Wall - November 30th, 2009 at 12:28

    David, I’m greatly enjoying your website, though the need for gainful employment hampers a full response
    Just read ACCIDENTS.
    Perfect middle – the boy listening in.
    ‘tall for my age’ is brilliant.


  16. #16 by David - December 1st, 2009 at 10:58

    Many thanks, Geoff, for taking the time out from the Groves of Academe! David

  17. #17 by Mike Rogerson - July 25th, 2011 at 21:20

    David ….. many thanks for the May postings – I’ve never really considered myself to be ‘interested’ in poetry, but the regular postings of your compositions always prompt me to read what otherwise I might have skipped. I particularly enjoyed ‘A Common Place’, as I think I’ve witnessed some of the wonder I think you allude to. I also enjoyed ‘Jodrell Bank’ which. if I recall. has the bearings of an unbuilt British battleship in its structure. Engines of war turned to a better purpose perhaps?

  18. #18 by David Selzer - July 26th, 2011 at 10:16

    Thanks, Mike. It’s good to know the site works as I intended it to do, making the pieces readily accessible to a wide readership. I’m glad you enjoyed ‘A Common Place’. I very much enjoyed writing it. I like the battleship analogy. I imagine Dreadnoughts with their bristling superstructure. It’s a metaphor I wish I’d thought of!

  19. #19 by Jo Sykes - August 26th, 2011 at 10:22

    Hi David

    Thanks for your latest poems. I love reading them so do keep sending – it keeps me in touch with you both!


  20. #20 by David Selzer - September 5th, 2011 at 07:55

    Thank you, Jo. You keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them! David

  21. #21 by colin fletcher - November 7th, 2011 at 12:40

    Greetings. I have made some connections: I have a copy of Phoenix, Spring 1964; I edited Sphinx in 1966; have self published poetry since the 70’s; and just joined the Border Poets led by Paul Francis – I think you are right about better the web than a slightly foxed booklet. Best wishes.

  22. #22 by Frances Coke - May 1st, 2012 at 14:23

    Thank you for your poems. I visited your impressive site and enjoyed reading the latest poems. I found that photograph (beside your picture) intriguing. It reminds me so much of one of my favourite spots in rural Jamaica where I grew up, spending wonderul days by the sea. A very similar photograph is on the cover of my 2010 poetry collection, Intersections, published by Peepal Tree Press in Leeds, UK – I will definitely visit your site again and read more of your work, including the screenplays, as I am currently very interested in writing one. Thanks and best wishes.

  23. #23 by David Selzer - May 2nd, 2012 at 10:38

    Many thanks for the kind words, Frances. The photo is of South Stack, which is on the north west coast of Ynys Môn (in English: isle of Anglesey), a county in North Wales. The pic accompanies LOOKING FOR PUFFINS: SOUTH STACK REVISITED – A POEM FOR OUR DAUGHTER –

    I very much enjoyed the three poems on your page on the Peepal site – – the choice of evocative detail and the tone, by turns, lyrical, demotic, elegiac and always moving. I look forward to reading the collection.

  24. #24 by Gilbert A. Franke - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:39

    David, I appreciate your conclusion in “Meet David Selzer” that “in order for most poetry to reach as wide a readership as possible . . . publication on the web rather than in book form is the way forward.” Certainly our reason for writing is to share our viewpoints as widely as possible, not to get wealthy from the sale of our poetry!! Your publishing site is attractive and easy to navigate, and your poetry a pleasure to read. I think it was a good decision you made on the steep slope above St Tudno’s Church as the nuns climbed the sheep track up the hill! I have yet to check the links you include on your site, but I’m hoping they might provide a network for interaction among online self publishing poets. Thanks! — Gil

  25. #25 by Nilanjana Bose - September 22nd, 2012 at 15:00

    Hello David,
    I like your site and your poetry and most of all that you have made it so easily accessible. I read some of your work from the link at TSBC, and will be checking back regularly for new posts. Thanks.

  26. #26 by Jenny - December 15th, 2012 at 16:50

    A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE – see Yes! Yes! Venice exactly! The word “evocative” cliches to mind. Thanks for sending them, David.

  27. #27 by prof. kh.Ijaz .A.Butt - December 17th, 2012 at 13:43

    Can you send me a brief history and literary history of Italy, please?

  28. #28 by David Selzer - December 17th, 2012 at 20:36

  29. #30 by Jenny - April 27th, 2013 at 13:07

    Wonderful! Especially liked the glacial waters and the chip shop in juxtaposition in ‘Unbidden’! Re ‘East End Girl…’ I was in a local shop here yesterday – I live in France – and what were they playing on the musak system? The Lambeth Walk. I doubt that anyone excepting myself had any idea! Incongruous, and what a co-incidence – or was it morphic resonance? ‘…any evening, any day…’ Gor blimey, you never know what to expect.

  30. #31 by David Selzer - April 27th, 2013 at 15:25

    Many thanks, Jenny. Let’s go for gor blimey morphic resonance!

  31. #32 by Toni Anderson Roberts - June 4th, 2013 at 19:27

    David, you have such a talent of drawing the reader in and leaving them mesmerized which is very rare these days. When one sometimes wonders if poetry and prose are a lost art, they just have to turn to anything you have written and realize that depth and perception of the written word are truly a gift. Thank you for all you write and share.

    Toni Anderson Roberts/Author of “A Kite Named Jack and Other Rhymes”; a faith and moral based Children’s Poetry EBook located on Amazon –, Barnes and Noble and ITunes.

  32. #33 by Jenny - July 30th, 2013 at 16:08

    I am still reeling from “Far Above Rubies”. A punch to the solar plexus….brilliant.

    Birds: I wonder if Sarah has heard any of the daily tweets the BBC broadcast?
    The litany of names is as soothing as the Shipping Forecast.

  33. #34 by Peter Hagen - September 8th, 2013 at 15:37

    Your story and poems touch strings in me, and I think of an Easter holiday 1963-64 when we
    relaxed in Bangor and Angelsey from our stay at Manchester University. A nice evening by the sea at the east side of the island. The sunset painted the sail boats far out there. Beautiful, one of us said. Tell me more, said a young girl some metres from us, her toes in the sea. Then we saw she was blind. It become an evening of a special kind to us. Later, when I was a journalist, I wrote a story about it. And now, as a ‘grown up’, I
    read your poems and try to write my own. Kind regards Peter.

  34. #35 by Ken Brandt - December 22nd, 2013 at 22:09

    David Selzer is one of the most accomplished writers in so many fields. His work is a must read for anyone who loves writing that captivates in many ways no other wordsmith can.

    Ken Brandt, Song Bird Studios

  35. #36 by John Moorhouse - April 26th, 2014 at 13:48

    I would love to see these poems performed by you, David. Also, I think many of them could be turned into excellent dramatic monologues.

  36. #37 by Doreen Levin - July 22nd, 2014 at 15:23

    David, it is always so rewarding for me to read through your poetry, and give you my reaction.

  37. #38 by Doreen Levin - July 22nd, 2014 at 15:44

    Now for my reaction!

    PARISH CHURCH, BURFORD The reverence in which you touch down on the death scene of the Levellers, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, back in 1649, makes it a chilling poem to read.

    WE PRISONERS Shock, fear, panic, depression. The “We” is the man and his body, in which his heart is responding to his agony. This is a strong poem. The last line “…a sea anemone in coral waters” brings out the essence of beauty in life.

    LOST No matter which century, or country we live in, the sickening shock of a young child being violently and sexually assaulted, then murdered by the cowardly, depraved attacker, bring horror and anger to all who hear the news. And someone has to be blamed – usually the mother for not taking care of her child. But when it comes to explaining why or how it could have happened, no one has the answer.

    CHILDREN’S HOUR This is such a lovely poem – a reflection of that time in your life when you relied on the wireless to bring you first Children’s Hour, then The News. But nothing to hint of the joyous miracle still to come in your life.

    EZRA POUND IN VENICE What an amazing poem. Your description of the elderly poet and his life time partner, and of the episode five years before Pound’s death, are breathtaking. Bravo to Allen Ginsberg for that kiss on the cheek, and forgiveness on behalf of the Jews, for Pound’s active anti-semitism. And bravo to Ezra Pound for admitting his mistake.

  38. #39 by Doreen Levin - August 11th, 2014 at 19:46

    BATHING AT LLANDDWYN is a spontaneous burst of joy and love, watching three precious links in the family chain dipping their toes into the bay. The poem paints the sight and the sounds of this precious memory. Beautifully done.

  39. #40 by Doreen Levin - October 17th, 2014 at 15:13

    LA PERRUCHE ET LA SIRENNE What a delightful poem describing your encounter with the Matisse art work, and creating your own vivid colourful and living canvas from the scenery back at home.

    IN MY CRAFT OR SULLEN ART You are not alone David. During WW2 I was evacuated to a tiny hamlet in Somerset. Aged about 11, I would rush to buy the Radio Times, mark out all the plays, sent letters begging autographs and photos from the BBC Drama Repertory Company, knew all their names, memorised their voices, and my greatest ambition was to join the company. Forty years later, I had my chance to talk on radio, and nothing came out of my mouth!

    THE DESERTED WAGON is a very poignant, beautiful poetic memory.

    SOMETHING LOST IN TRANSLATION I’m fascinated by the way you have woven an arresting poem about an unwanted encounter with a beggar at Euston Station who has been bothering all the customers. You succumb and pay your tithe, and are rewarded with a Romanian prayer. Once, in Spain, I bought a flower from a persistent beggar, and five minutes later it had vanished! I firmly believe he pinched it back again!

    OF CAT AND MOUSE For me that’s love, and hate. There has been dozens of cats in my life, at one stage 5 cats, 2 dogs and 2 budgies lived with me and my children. Now there is Charlie-Sam, a pavement special, black and white. I don’t think he has ever seen a mouse, but he has chewed up quite a few geckoes (like little lizards). If he does catch a bird, I run to my neighbours for help, and wait for the corpse to be removed before going back home. It is a sweet poem, but it distresses me!

  40. #41 by Alan Horne - September 14th, 2015 at 17:10

    Hi, David. As I said in my recent email to you, it was great to come across your website. By my calculation it was 1968 when you were my form teacher and got me interested in reading and writing poetry, teaching me English up to A level subsequently. It’s wonderful to find that you are still writing, and writing so much. I had bought a copy of ELSEWHERE, which I still have and consult, when it came out in 1973, so I got hold of a copy of A JAR OF STICKLEBACKS to get me up to date. There is a lot of great poetry on your site. Some that I like, for instance ‘Far Above Rubies’, or ‘Dedham Vale Revisited’, have rightly attracted a lot of positive comments. Some of the others that strike me are the poems that link personal experience to world history, like ‘At Mycenae 1984’, which stuck in my head (well, it’s a poem about a man with a head injury, I guess) despite me wanting to skate over it because of the uncomfortable subject-matter. The poems that relate to the Liverpool/Cheshire/North Wales area, like ‘George Gershwin at Chirk Castle, have a pleasant local familiarity for me. And there are so many lovely family poems. So this was such a lucky find for me. Thanks for getting me interested in all this sort of stuff, it’s been a gift that’s lasted a lifetime.

  41. #42 by David Selzer - September 16th, 2015 at 16:56

    Thank you, Alan. ‘…a gift that’s lasted a lifetime…’ I’m touched and humbled.

  42. #43 by Joseph O’ Neill - October 16th, 2015 at 07:56

    On 15 October 2015 at 09:55, Joseph O’Neill wrote:


    It captures the key issue with Thatcher – her apparent inhumanity, and her aggressive attitude.

    Shared by Dawkins, except he fortunately has no real power.

    Interestingly it was not Darwin, but a sociologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) who first used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ , and Spencer who acted as an excuser for entrepreneurs of their brutal treament of the workers.

  43. #44 by Mike and Pat Rogerson - January 30th, 2016 at 14:01

    January may be the hardest month David, but this collection of poetry has lightened it. Powerful and thought provoking as ever, enjoyable and recognisable as well.

  44. #45 by John Williams - April 27th, 2016 at 02:54

    Response from John Williams, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China.

    “Following the chain”
    The poem carries a potent title and draws on some vivid expressions, such as ” funfair folk’, ” circus people”, “smoking a roll-up” “a rare rabbit” , “soup…for breaking stones”. And, of course, “his muffler hiding/the cancerous lump on his neck” at the end of the poem. The poem comes to life in vivid verbs that describe work, “forged”. “reclaimed” “purging”,” to wipe the sweat”, “lifted without licence”, and the wife ,”scolding him for idling”.

    Because this poem is inspired by a photograph, the reader needs the scene to be described, of course. As a consequence, “Following the chain” relies on stative verbs, “They are..they are, there is.. They are..there are ….” as the poet takes the reader through the scene. I don’t know how else the poem might achieve a more dynamic effect, but I’d be likely to change them. ( Perhaps there’s a chance to explore an elemental theme – earth, air, fire and water a bit more prominently. Or an idea that the blacksmith’s forge of ancient times was the site that gave rise to natural science, explanation of natural processes without the gods’ involvement. A neat theory if it could be worked in. )

    The significance of the scene derives partly from vivid expressions of work ” a shift about to go on”, “the furnace glare”, vicissitudes of chain-making and the hard-hearted Sea Lords and employers. These contrast with references that tug-the-heart – a vulnerable workforce reliant on the workhouse at times, the dole, “a wife’s pittance”, surviving by poaching and the homely scenes: the scolding wife and tender words to the grandchild about his forthcoming death.
    Thanks for sending the poem 8,000 miles, David.

  45. #46 by David Selzer - May 3rd, 2016 at 19:13

    Many thanks, John, for the many appreciative comments on this piece.

    I’ve a couple of churlish caveats if I may.

    I decided not to post the photo partly because – inevitably given the long exposure times then – it is anything but dynamic. Indeed, as the poem states, it ‘could have been taken anywhere…’ In my defence, the stative verbs are, for the most part, followed by words denoting vigorous action.

    There would have been a time when I’d have been tempted to allude explicitly to the four elements and/or to antique blackmithery – and/or, indeed, to Aristotle’s Great Chain of Being. I’m comfortable now with words and concepts carrying whatever freight an individual reader assumes they do.

(will not be published)

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