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FREE PDF ê The Long Meadow ä Now in paperback, the highly praised second collection by Vijay Seshadri, winner of theJames Laughlin Award from the Academy of American PoetsWe hold it against you that you survivedPeople better than you are dead,but you still punch the clockYour body has wizened but has not bled from Survivor Telecommunication Systems the highly praised second collection by Vijay Seshadri The Poams winner of theJames Laughlin Award from the Academy of American PoetsWe hold it against you that you survivedPeople better than you are dead,but you still punch the clockYour body has wizened but has not bled from Survivor The James Laughlin Award is given to commend and support a poet s second book The only award of its kind in the United States, it is named in honor of the poet and publisher James Laughlin, who founded New Directions in 1936 The award is endowed by a gift to The Academy of American Poets from the Drue Heinz Trust.The first poem in the collection, Immediate City , may have set my expectations a bit high The poem is reminiscent of Thom Gunn sFighting Termsthe only collection of Gunn s t The James Laughlin Award is given to commend and support a poet s second book The only award of its kind in the United States, it is named in honor of the poet and publisher James Laughlin, who founded New Directions in 1936 The award is endowed by a gift to The Academy of American Poets from the Drue Heinz Trust.The first poem in the collection, Immediate City , may have set my expectations a bit high The poem is reminiscent of Thom Gunn sFighting Termsthe only collection of Gunn s that I ve read , with it s use of repetition light that falls and falls , the casual rhyming neutral nets jumbo jets Incidentally, Thom Gunn was one of the judged who selected The Long Meadow to win the 2003 James Laughlin Award along with Mary Jo Bang and Campbell McGrath Tall and plural and parallel,their buff, excited skinsof glass pressed to glass and steelbronzed by the falling sun,the city s figmentary buildings dreamthat they are one with the One.Ignoring he office workerstrapped in their neutral nets,they orient their ecstacyup past the circling jumbo jets.Older than the rocks is sheacross whom their shadows floatA million rivers navigatethe necklace at her throat.The light falls and fallsshatters in her million prisms.In one of her million cubicles,a man tunes his inner mechanisms,types and endless memorandum.Time moves slowly, then not at all.A boy and two girls aretrading secrets down the hall Immediate City pg 3 The comparison to Thom Gunn may have been superficial and unfounded I was so preoccupied with the form style that I didn t consider the content For the most part, Seshandri limits himself to trivial subjects He writes about the three little pigs in Wolf Soup , Bullwinkle in Fractured Fairytale , named after a segment from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show , and Superman in Superman Agonistes His attempts to elevate the trivial are at turns amusing and comedic Perhaps Seshandri s brand of poetry is better suited to someone who enjoys amusing and or comedic poems Perhaps I expected too much.In the version of the Three Little Pigsthat I ve been given to read my child,the first two pigs, after the wolf has blowntheir houses down Little piggy, little piggy, let me come in ,find refuge with their perspicacious brother.The wolf, for his part, displays no motivation,only an impulse arrestedfrom his body s churning electrolytesto demolish architectural follies Wolf Soup pg 12 You re coming up daisies, moose and squirrel, that same red eyed, locked and loaded figureintones in ten second intervals blood grinning in his beard,his finger squeezing the triggerBut, gosh, Bullwinkle, isn t that guy the eternal recurrence of the samereductive nemesis in whose namethe generalized life pulverizesour beautiful particularities,the horn of the moose and the tooth of the squirrel.What s it all about, anywayI don t know, Rock.I don t even know that I don t know.But if I had my druthers, I d just curl up by the fire with my books my books cause they burn so nice and slow Fractured Fairytale pg 24 When my X ray eyes look through the humansto the need inside,glowing red and green,my blood cells collide,my lungs collapse,my cortex rebels,and my heart wrapsa bomb around itselfand threatens to kill us both.But I can t stay away.I have to fly downto watch them pray,to watch them couple,to watch them fight,exposing myselfto their kryptonite Superman Agonistes pg 25 The collection is divided into four parts When I reached the third part, in which the poet switched from poetry to prose prose poetry , I lost interest The poems of the fourth part continued to disappoint me Perhapsso, because I found them less amusing than the poems of the first and second partOn a day like any other day,like yesterday or centuries before, in a town with the one remembered street,shaded by the buckeye and the syca the street long and true as a theorem,the day like yesterday or the day before,the street you walked down centuries before the story the same as the others flooding infrom the cardinal points isturning to take a good look at you The Disappearances pg 49 Vijay Seshadri read as part of my Visiting Author s Series on 9 9 2005 This is a version of my spoken introduction for him In The Long Meadow, many of Vijay Seshadri s poems take simple ideas or observations, and stretch them backward and forward seemingly beyond what should be their breaking point But, because of Vijay s strong guiding hand, he manages to give us regular, powerful shocks of recognition of ourselves in things, and recognition of the essence of the things themselves, never b Vijay Seshadri read as part of my Visiting Author s Series on 9 9 2005 This is a version of my spoken introduction for him In The Long Meadow, many of Vijay Seshadri s poems take simple ideas or observations, and stretch them backward and forward seemingly beyond what should be their breaking point But, because of Vijay s strong guiding hand, he manages to give us regular, powerful shocks of recognition of ourselves in things, and recognition of the essence of the things themselves, never before considered A poem that begins with a furrow in a hill gets linked not only to its physical beginnings as a notch in a sheer cliff, but also eventually to the very fact of human existence, all the while never unnecessarily calling attention to the momentousness of the poem it sneaks up on you, and takes your breath away Vijay writes of moments where great choices hang in the balance a life may lead one way to hope and possibility, or another to danger or despair But also, especially in the second section of The Long Meadow he reveals a lightness, wit and easy humor, which does not lessen in any way the dramatic power of the poems elsewhere, but reveals the astonishing breadth of the author His range simply confirms what those who have encountered his poetry already know In sports parlance, he seems to be able to do it all, and mightily well at that I can t quite pinpoint what it is I love best about his writing His simple evocation of the here and now or the ancient past My favorite was his free verse story about his father s Civil War fixation Good reading.