Originally, I titled it Nintendo Wedding but the publisher didn’t think that was legal. I still think of the book as Nintendo Wedding.
I love poems that are clear, direct, generous, and personal. I like to feel like I’m in someone’s house, poking around unsupervised. My influences or inspirations for writing came from Sharon Olds, Naomi Nye, Marie Howe, Beth Bachmann, photographer Sally Mann, memoirist and musician Amy Fusselman, Abigail Thomas, the state of Florida, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing.
The narrative poems in this book are strung together to make a kind of very slender novel, the story of a marriage with step-kids, and in the background, people try to cook dinner and beat Zelda. There are a few flashbacks, just like in a novel, to 1970s central Florida, a provocative landscape with levels of its own.
“Woman Wears Hibiscus Print Dress to Nation’s Largest Living Display of Butterflies” is one of the poems from the series that isn’t in the collection. “The Language of the Couple” is a poem from The Boys I Borrow and it’s the first poem I wrote for the book and the one I really, really like. It appeared first in the The Smartish Pace.
“Many of these sensitive, clever poems are about navigating the new waters of a non-traditional family. The result is a cohesive, engaging collection in which a real heroine persona explores the often challenging terrain of the domicile.”
~ Billy Collins
“In a world in which people speak in clichés and platitudes, Heather Sellers’s stunning new collection of poems, The Boys I Borrow, transcends the quotidian events of our day. I’ve read novels that have not developed relationships between people in marriage as well as this. In poems that deftly insert lyric moments in narrative, she uncovers the nuances of infertility, a new marriage and the changes in life before and after. If you know anything about the difference between desire and love and the realities that blur between them, if you’ve lived any life at all you’ll ‘remember, you have lived this way, always hungry’ for more.” ~ A. Van Jordan
“When you open The Boys I Borrow, you won’t find poems about angels or mythological heroines—what you’ll find is life the way we live it, but more clearly seen and deeply understood than the average human can easily bear. The dramas in this book are the dramas of the lived life in the 21st century—we have trips to the fertility doctor, motorcycle rides to the Shangrai-La Motel beneath a ‘well hung, low slung’ moon, stepsons whose ‘tongues are simple antennae’ and who play Nintendo, need help with their homework—in short, all of our wonderfully banal and beautiful world rendered in painterly precision and tender humor. This is a book that sustains.” ~ Beth Ann Fennelly