I checked this book of poems out of the library because JNaz called my attention to this poet recently. It was published in 2013, and won the Pulitzer Prize.
There are, indeed, three sections in this book, with a single bonus poem following the third section, titled “Light Verse (Standard Time Begins)”: 1) 31 short poems, 2) a 13-page work of prose titled “Pacific Fishes of Canada” and 3) a long (16-page) and long-lined poem titled “Personal Essay.” I very much enjoyed all three sections–and “Light Verse.” It is possible to dip into any section, and into any poem in the first section of short poems. They stand alone.
You can read three of the short poems and listen to Seshadri read them by following this link: https://www.pw.org/content/3_sections_by_vijay_seshadri
I marked two other short poems to quote: From “New Media” (the final lines):
“It’s not the thing, there is no thing,/there’s no thing in itself,/there’s nothing but what’s said about the thing, there are no things but words//about the things/said over and over,/perching, grooming their wings,/on the subject lines.”
From “Bright Copper Kettles” (the beginning):
“Dead friends coming back to life, dead family,/speaking languages living and dead, the minds retentive/their five senses intact, their footprints like a butterfly’s,/mercy shining from their comprehensive faces–/this is one of my favorite things./I like it so much I sleep all the time.”
And from the middle of “Personal Essay,” what I take as a job description for a poet:
“…if your job has been, as mine has been, to hollow out rock,/ with a tenacity that surprises even you,/a little indentation, a dimple/(scraping and scraping with your inadequate devices)/a place to put your suction cups down, get a grip,/so you can spread at your other end/the filaments of your being, which will transmit the waves of energy swelling around you, billowing and subsiding–/storms of radiance, solar flares, fountains, typhoons,/blizzards of the infinitesimal particles shooting to China/(on the other side of the planet!),…”
Good stuff, eh? Thanks, JNaz.