That Was Now, This Is Then
- “A candid recognition of the psychic and spiritual trauma these disruptive times have wrought. . . . In an engaging, confiding tone that embraces both wit and compassion, Seshadri enlists poetry, what he calls ‘spooky action at a distance,’ to assure us that despite the historical moment’s forced isolation and heightened sociopolitical stress, we need not feel we’re alone.”—Library Journal
I wanted to curl up
in the comfortable cosmic melancholy of my past,
in the sadness of my past being passed.
I wanted to tour the museum of my antiquities
and look at the sarcophagi there.
I wanted to wallow like a water buffalo in the cool,
sagacious mud of my past,
so I wrote you and said I’d be in town and could we meet.
—from “Visiting San Francisco”
- “[Vijay Seshadri’s] intellectually nimble new collection . . . reads like a warning to readers in ways real and emotional. . . . It has such power and unease, you may leave it feeling less alone.”—Lit Hub
- “These poems movingly capture the feeling of being suspended in a moment. . . . Fans of Seshadri will find the thoughtfulness, humor, and lyric precision they have come to expect from the poet.”—Publishers Weekly
- “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
- “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