India-born poet wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize

Poet, essayist and critic, Vijay Seshadri, has been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Award 2014 for his wonderful collection of poems in ‘3 Sections’.

The Pulitzer Award 2014 marked its 98th edition this year and the award ceremony was held on Monday at Columbia University.

The citation said Seshadri’s ‘3 Sections’ is a “compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless.”

The prize amount for the winner in the poetry category was $10,000 and it was given for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author.

According to the publisher of Seshadri’s poems, Graywolf Press, “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 out-think time. This is an extraordinary book, witty and vivacious, by one of America’s best poets.”

Born in 1954, in Bangalore, India, Seshadri moved to Columbus, Ohio in America at the age of five. He holds an A.B. degree from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) from Columbia University.

Vijay Seshadri

Vijay Seshadri

He has also written James Laughlin Award winner “The Long Meadow” and “Wild Kingdom”.

Seshadri is a receiver of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a receiver of Paris Review’s Bernard F. Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony’s Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.

The other nominations for this category were, “The Sleep of Reason” by Morri Creech, which is a collection of poems that capture the inner experience of a man in mid-life who is troubled by mortality and the passage of time, traditional themes that are made to feel new; and “The Big Smoke” by Adrian Matejka, an imaginative work by a commanding poet who engages the history mythology of larger-than-life boxer Jack Johnson.

Talking about his writing passion, Seshadri says, “Writing was long an ambition of mine, although I was never one of those people who knew from age two that they wanted to write. Knowing happened probably around adolescence. I went to Oberlin College, which had a strong literary and poetic culture. I started out in mathematics and philosophy but writing slowly took over. But I came to poetry pretty late, although I’d written poems when I was an undergraduate and had been encouraged. I didn’t get down to it seriously until my mid-20s, and I’ve pursued it ever since. Prose has always been something I’m deeply interested in, too, not only as a writer but as an editor and critic.”

Image courtesy :

YS Subramaniam