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A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Idea to Idea

A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Idea to Idea
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A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Idea to Idea

A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Concept to Concept

Seshadri relishes this type of complexity, whether or not it means extending a conceit or altering the dimensions of a poem like a detective zooming in on surveillance footage. Think about “Birding,” which begins with the easy picture of “A grey fowl with a crest and a black masks” that expands to “a big wader, gimlet-eyed, beneath / the solar’s gimlet eye.” After which this occurs:

The solar itself a bigger fowl,
its wings manufacturing
the photo voltaic wind

that devours, that’s what can devour an individual —
floating within the vacuum
of perpetual house,
which is what there may be and in addition is

itself a fowl, a blackbird,
its black eye, black in black,
its sidewise look that makes you
look again.

When you may shift from a blackbird to the photo voltaic wind to the blackness of house, which is taking a look at you whilst you’re your self engaged in wanting, there may be little or no you may’t deliver into the dialog.

Seshadri’s prickly inventiveness serves him particularly effectively when he writes about gender. “Man and Lady Speaking” is strictly that, a dialogue premised on the assertion by “Man” that “we constructed the world,” which proceeds by way of each the plain issues with this declare and questions on what, in any case, has been constructed. The poem ends by quoting Henry Vaughan’s “The World” in an acid rain of irony. There’s a equally uncomfortable but becoming sense of doubling and reversal in “Marriage” (a companion, it appears to me, of an earlier poem referred to as “Household Happiness”), which photos the male speaker as having “two folks inside me,” one grownup and succesful, the opposite consumed by toddler ego. The speaker doesn’t need these identities resolved; fairly, “I would like them to be inseparable, inevitable. / I don’t need the kids to undergo.”

To put in writing as an ironist, particularly in the present day, is to threat that the reader loses endurance with hedging, backtracking, spirals of cleverness. However typically the layers of the onion make sure the purity of the tears. “That Was Now, This Is Then” is anchored by “Collins Ferry Touchdown,” an elegy for the poet’s father. Its center part, in prose, begins by addressing Seshadri’s father within the self-amused voice that’s typical for this author: “I’ve a pal. (You’ll be glad to know.) She and I work collectively. (You’ll be glad to know I nonetheless have a job.) She’s an ally. She’s sympathetic.” But it surely seems that this sympathetic ally has carried out one thing horrible. The poet had been talking about his loss (“I used to be telling her about you”) after which shied away from it right into a galaxy of different topics (“I used to be describing cultures of disgrace evolving throughout millennia; economies of shortage versus economies of surplus. … Deep India, strewn with elephants and cobras”). After which the lady does this: “She put her proper hand on my left arm and stated, ‘He’ll at all times be with you. In your coronary heart.’”

This “idiotic outburst” causes the poet to shuffle virtually manically by way of the selves that his father’s demise has torn by way of like a stone by way of paper (“I used to be seeing myself because the star of my loss, its protagonist, treading the boards”), leaving him with a horrible information that’s “unendurable.” The sentences seethe throughout the web page. “This is the reason I stored speaking and speaking, each time I may, climbing hand over hand up the rope of phrases.” He arrives eventually on the easy, excruciating, pedestrian realization that every one he needs is “to be sitting on the living-room sofa, watching ‘Jeopardy!’ with you.” The poet is there, his father is there, we’re there. Every certainly one of us is there, earlier than the flickering display screen, and so none of us are there, and so all of us are there. How excessive that highest candle lights the darkish.

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