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
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
- “[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
- “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