Three Persons by Vijay Seshadri

Jeff Kauffman
Recently, Vijay Seshadri's poetry collection 3 Sections quietly claimed the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  I caught a sneak peek of the collection on NPR and the book is now impatiently tapping its foot, waiting in my To Be Read queue.  Here's a sampling of Seshadri's other work and perhaps it will pique your interest as well.

Three Persons by Vijay Seshadri

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.


  1. <3.The imagery in this one reminds me a lot of Michael Ondaatje's work for some reason.

  2. This kind of work, poems like these... yes. This is what I love. Work where the details are the words that sing. That's where the magic is.

  3. Never leave a man lose part of yourself. The human part. Or something. :)

  4. my interest is piqued. i would really love to read more of his work. especially as a collection. you will have to let us know what you think once you finish it.

  5. I've not read his collection, but I've heard it's about all the little corners of life. That intrigues me . . . can't wait to hear what you think of it as whole!

  6. Added it to my to read list as well. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, I need to check out more of his work.


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