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That Was Now, This Is Then


Graywolf Press

That Was Now, This Is Then Download image

ISBN10: 1644450747
ISBN13: 9781644450741


80 Pages



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No one blends ironic intelligence, emotional frankness, radical self-awareness, and complex humor the way Vijay Seshadri does. In this, his fourth collection, he affirms his place as one of America’s greatest living poets. That Was Now, This Is Then takes on the planar paradoxes of time and space, destabilizing highly tuned lyrics and elegies with dizzying turns in poems of un-requitable longing, of longing for longing, of longing to be found, of grief. In these poems, Seshadri’s speaker becomes the subject, the reader becomes the writer, and the multiplying refracted narratives yield an “anguish so pure it almost / feels like joy.”


Praise for That Was Now, This Is Then

“The essence of Seshadri’s writing is conversation, and that conversation is coiling and liquid, not diffident. Seshadri is fluent in an unusually wide range of forms—he ranges here from rhymed quatrains to fat blocks of prose—and his voice is typically chatty, probing, importuning, self-mocking . . . He’s a poet who mesmerizes not by stillness but by zigs and zags.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[That Was Now, This Is Then] strikes a rare balance of humor, poignancy, and intellectualism . . . It is a thrill to watch every iteration of Seshadri’s speaker unravel and re-thread themselves on the page.”—ZYZZYVA

“Seshadri's intellectually graceful poems offer refuge in emotionally turbulent times and invite readers to cross the sacred threshold typically separating the poet from his rapt audience.”Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Seshadri’s is a voice that speaks honestly, without any patronizing, a voice that wants to see in each of us ‘the free person, the truly free, free from time, space’ . . . The only way to speak in our time’s moment. Or, any moment.”—Ilya Kaminsky

“Vijay Seshadri conjures the poems in That Was Now, This Is Then out of absence, fashions language from the vast and wild silences surrounding our living. Seshadri’s poetry presses into and recedes from our gaze all in the same gesture . . . Inconceivably, Seshadri’s best yet.”—Kaveh Akbar

“Vijay Seshadri is arch and canny, a maestro of noir ironies . . . These are poems of lacerating self-awareness and stoic compassion. That Was Now, This Is Then is a book we need, right now.”—Rosanna Warren

“Seshadri is known for elaborate lines and evocative images, and he has built a career around the unexpected turns his lyrics often take. This new collection is no exception, conjuring small moments of intense personal intimacy, as well as broad snapshots of surprising expanses.”Booklist

“This contemplative fourth collection deploys [Seshadri’s] trademark philosophical mode with less sharply defined edges, and more room for interruptions and diversion . . . Fans of Seshadri will find the thoughtfulness, humor, and lyric precision they have come to expect from the poet.”Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads