Selma Mann was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela to Julio and Carlota. Julio was born Julius, a German Jew who emigrated after Hitler came to power. Carlota was an orphan with an indomitable will to transcend. The foundation of her education was by austere yet caring nuns during her childhood in Barquisimeto.
Her family found its way to West Los Angeles when Selma was 11. Already bi-lingual, speaking Spanish, her native language, as well as German, neither of which were spoken in public in Southern California much above a whisper at that time. Like Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov, two masters of the English language, Selma’s English was largely self-taught, chiefly through long, daily stretches of reading at the small local library. This began a couple of life-long habits: time, money and energetic support of public libraries, and a passion for languages. She has since added Italian and French to her repertoire.
She practiced public law for 27 years beginning her legal career at Rutan & Tucker prior to landing at the City of Anaheim. Prior to becoming an attorney, Selma thoroughly enjoyed teaching gifted second and third graders in Culver City for over 11 years. This proved to be the ideal occupation while raising two young daughters.
Inveterate and leisurely travelers, Selma and her now late husband Al took a half-dozen cruises to Alaska; four or five voyages to Paris, London, Florence and Venice; Bruges—”really old and full of chocolate”—twice; traveled in Japan three times; and made frequent visits to favorite stateside getaways.
Earlier tastes in poetry tended toward the traditional: Shakespeare’s sonnets, John Donne, John Milton, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dylan Thomas. But Billy Collins, reading and lecturing at the Newport Beach public library opened her eyes and ears to wider possibilities for poetic expression. Struck by Collins’ joy in his poetry, Selma has since found writing poetry more a pleasure than a labor. This augurs well for future production, very well indeed.
"Whimsical Warrior, Selma’s second collection of poetry, was published in May, 2017 by Balkan Press.
Selma is currently working on her third book, with insights about the gifts of loss, gratitude and journeys that have shaped her."