Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri to give Emily Dickinson Lecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, celebrated essayist, and literary critic Vijay Seshadri will give a reading at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, in the Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

Seshadri’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, "3 Sections," is described by Bhisham Bherwani of The American Reader as “a contemporary volume that wittingly, and obsessively, evokes the metaphysical” and “does so ingeniously.” Lauren Hilger at Green Mountain Review calls it a collection that “encourages the reader to question what constitutes a poem.”

Born in India and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Seshadri first became interested in poetry at the age of 16, when he was in college and discovered the contemporary poets of the 1960s and 1970s. He recalls a poetry reading by Galway Kinnell as a particularly memorable event that sparked his desire to “go home and start writing.” Since then he has gone on to write three collections of poetry: "Wild Kingdom" (1996), which draws from his experience in the commercial fishing industry in Oregon; "The Long Meadow" (2003), winner of  the James Laughlin Award; and "3 Sections" (2013).

His poems, essays, and book reviews have been featured in such publications as The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, The American Scholar, Yale Review, and The New Yorker, where Seshadri was for many years a member of the copy editing department. His work has also been featured in a number of anthologies, including "Best American Poetry."

One notable poem, “The Disappearances,” was featured in The New Yorker following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Focusing on a household after the assassination of JFK, the poem offers what Alice Quinn calls “the combination of epic sweep and piercing, evocative detail,” and she cites it as “characteristic of the contribution Seshadri has made to the American canon.”

Currently a resident of Brooklyn, New York, Seshadri teaches poetry and prose in the master of fine art program at Sarah Lawrence College.

The Emily Dickinson Lectureship in American Poetry is made possible through the generosity and courtesy of George and Barbara Kelly. Additional support for the event comes from the Mary E. Rolling Endowment, the Penn State Department of English, the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment, the Institute for Arts and Humanities, the Paterno Fellows Program, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the University Libraries, and the College of the Liberal Arts.

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Last Updated November 17, 2015