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3 Sections: Poemsby Vijay Seshadri
2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Synopses & Reviews
The long-awaited third poetry book by Vijay Seshadri, “one of the most respected poets working in America today” (Time Out New York)
First I had three
apocalyptic visions, each more terrible than the last.
The graves open, and the sea rises to kill us all.
Then the doorbell rang, and I went downstairs and signed for two packages —
—from “This Morning”
Vijay Seshadri's new poetry is assured and expert, his line as canny as ever. In an array of poetic forms from the rhyming lyric to the philosophical meditation to the prose essay, 3 Sections confronts perplexing divisions of contemporary life — a wayward history, an indeterminate future, and a present condition of wanting to outthink time. This is an extraordinary book, witty and vivacious, by one of Americas best poets.
"Deft yet direct, often funny and yet alert to existential quandaries, this third outing from regular New Yorker contributor Seshadri (The Long Meadow) could be the most versatile, as well as one of the most successful, volumes this year. The fluid, disarming short poems take in modern consumer culture and age-old angst, Seshadri's South Asian heritage, his contemporary New York ('the more punishing blocks of Park Avenue'), and our surveillance society, in which nobody really knows anyone, yet anybody can find out where you are: 'Why I wanted to escape experience is nobody's business but my own,/ but I always believed I could.' Long chatty lines sit beside tight rhymed stanzas, bleakness beside wit ('Purgatory, the Sequel'), and all of it introduces the two long works that comprise the other two sections of this three-part work. One contains Seshadri's expansive prose essay about an Alaskan fishing boat, at 'the great intersection of sea and sky... in the gloom at the edge of the world.' Even more remarkable is the lengthy 'Personal Essay' in verse, a meditation on what it could mean to be personal, to be one person and not another, in this crowded age: Seshadri imagines himself as 'the image of/ nothing, a face astonished by itself in the mirror/ (that couldn't be me, could it?).' Some readers will praise him for his light touch; others, for the depth, and the literary history, that he brings to his present-day task — but praise him they should. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An extraordinarily naked modern consciousness, an intensely experienced dislocation, a beautiful intelligence: Seshadri's poetry is exhilarating." Jonathan Franzen
About the Author
Vijay Seshadri is the author of two previous poetry collections, Wild Kingdom and The Long Meadow, the winner of the James Laughlin Award. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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