Creation myths and shy beetles: 2 or 3 questions for Leslie Seldin

Leslie Seldin is a poet whose work we adore, and whose affection for the High Line we share. But her feelings about beetles—well, that's another thing entirely.


leslie_seldin"Nothing to explain in Crescent City" seems to us to suggest that poets should focus not on explanation, but on observation and description... And that when a poet can do this, her eyes open wider and she sees and can thus share so much more - and can see too in novel ways. Or do we have this wrong? That happens.

These prose poems are part of a larger project I started around the idea of creation myths. They serve as cinematic frames of places I've been to literally and figuratively and perhaps hint at primal beginnings. I love the fickleness of explanation—the arrogance of explanation—the tyranny of explanation—the pleasure of explanation. That it can pose as a pillow where the brain can rest and then morph just as easily into a cloud of carnival barker banter. I am drawn to the patina of its logic and would gladly follow it most anywhere.

"Shy beetles"—really? There are beetles crawling all over the office right now, chirping loudly to boot, belying our new landlord's promise that this place would be both cleaner and quieter than the last one, which, granted, was under the Coney Island El, granted, but at least bug-free. Where can we get some of these shy beetles?

Maybe in another life I was a shy beetle, my exoskeleton a source of quiet pride. But past life regressions aside, getting under the skin of the matter, crawling underneath to become familiar with, is where I like to feed.