An Evening with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Vijay Seshadri
An Evening with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Vijay Seshadri

"People are scared of poetry," Vijay Seshadri told students and faculty members, who gathered in the Harris House living room Jan. 23 to listen to the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. "But just because it's complex doesn't mean it has to be serious."

For Seshadri, poetry isn't necessarily difficult or abstruse; instead, he told students, he thinks of poetry as entertainment.

Seshadri came to the U.S. with his parents when he was five years old. He draws inspiration from his own life — particularly his childhood in Columbus, OH, where his father was a chemistry professor at Ohio State University. At Hotchkiss, Seshadri read a selection of works that reflect his diverse influences — from a meditation on the story of the three little pigs to a poem about a worm with jellyfish genes that produces translucent silk, inspired by an article in a science magazine.

He has published three books: 3 Sections, which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2014; The Long Meadow, which won the James Laughlin Award in 2004; and Wild Kingdom. Writing in The New Yorker,

Writing in The New Yorker, Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America, described his work this way: "Appreciative readers of Seshadri's poems can recognize his expert assimilation of American poetry from Frost to Lowell, Bishop, and Ashbery, their tutelary spirits resplendently alive in a tradition he himself is significantly shaping with his own alchemical brand of poetic magic."