3 Sections (2013)
3 Sections (2013)
About book: Prize winning poetry collection that lives up to all the acclaim. The thing that is most striking to me is the strength of every single poem in the book whether they are short one pagers or longer narratives. Another wonderful quality of these poems is the tremendous diversity of subject material from salmon fishing and the international fishing industry to nursing homes and dreams. Every page was a total surprise. If I were to describe this book in one word I would say "fresh". While there's no doubt that Seshadri is a skilled poet who is in his work nodding to the greats of Ashbery and Frost (as his New Yorker blurb says), I found this book oddly challenging (in a discouraging way), and so I give it only a mediocre review. Which feels weird, Pulitzer Prize and all...and I have to wonder if my reaction is one of ignorance as well as my preference for a different type of poem. But, regardless of that, some of his poems do seem to lack a musical quality. Repeated phrases fell flat, and sometimes he played it safe with imagery and description. Nothing made me pause and reread just for the enjoyment of a line...but I did pause and reread because I'd lost track of what was happening or not happening in the poem. Sometimes I even lost track of the topic. If there is a "New Yorker" type of short story, I wonder if these poems are now the "New Yorker" type of poem. Naturally, I found the essay "Pacific Fishes of Canada" to be my favorite, and I do argue that it is a straight up essay, not even a lyrical essay that could be a cousin to poetry. But it's still awesome. But I'm not sure it's poetry. Then again, I know Derrida's law of genres says all genres blur, which is fine with me. And that the second to last poem is then titled "Personal Essay" is a nice touch. So I admire those two pieces. The 31 poems before those two? I've read through them twice and am still struggling to recall them in any sort of useful way. Are they difficult? Yes. Too difficult? Maybe. But a good text will also mount its own resistance, so the reader has to work a little to get it. Perhaps I will reread this someday and see it how others have seen it.
Pacific Fishes of CanadaFamily HappinessImaginary NumberRereadingPersonal Essay
Great imagery. Especially love the Pacific Fishes of Canada!
Pulitzer Prize category or Poetry Category
811.54 S4933t 2013