It’s National Poetry Month, and I’m going to go out on a limb and refer our readers to a book that I have not read myself: “3 Sections” by Vijay Seshadri, published by small independent Greywolf Press. The first reason why I’m fairly confident in my recommendation is that this book just won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on Monday. The second reason? I fell in love with the poems of his I have just experienced. On Tuesday, Greywolf published a sampler of Mr. Seshadri’s poems from “3 Sections” on their blog, of which this was one offered:
That slow person you left behind when, finally,
you mastered the world, and scaled the heights you now command,
where is he while you
walk around the shaved lawn in your plus fours,
organizing with an electric clipboard
your big push to tomorrow?
Oh, I’ve come across him, yes I have, more than once,
coaxing his battered grocery cart down the freeway meridian.
Others see in you sundry mythic types distinguished
not just in themselves but by the stories
we put them in, with beginnings, ends, surprises:
the baby Oedipus on the hillside with his broken feet
or the dog whose barking saves the grandmother
flailing in the millpond beyond the weir,
dragged down by her woolen skirt.
He doesn’t see you as a story, though.
He feels you as his atmosphere. When your sun shines,
he chortles. When your barometric pressure drops
and the thunderheads gather,
he huddles under the overpass and writes me long letters with
the stubby little pencils he steals from the public library.
He asks me to look out for you.
My, that’s lovely. And I don’t even consider myself a huge fan of poetry, even though I do have a healthy respect for it and for those who have mastered the art. I’ll have to keep my eye open for “3 Sections” and other works by Vijay Seshadri. This will be a wonderful way to broaden my horizons. Care to join me?