Oberlin Alum Receives Pulitzer Prize

April 15, 2014

James Helmsworth

The Pulitzer Price banner

Vijay Seshadri ’74 was recently awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for 3 Sections, published by Graywolf Press in September 2013. The prize is awarded annually to "a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author" and comes with a prize of $10,000.

The Pulitzer citation describes 3 Sections as "a compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless." With this honor, Seshadri joins the company of preeminent poets such as Allen Ginsberg, who received the prize in 1995, Sylvia Plath, who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1982, and Robert Frost, who won in 1924, 1931, 1937, and 1943.

The author of three other collections of poetry, Wild Kingdom, The Disappearances, and The Long Meadow, which won the James Laughlin Award in 2003, Seshadri is the Michele Tolela Myers Chair in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where he teaches non-fiction and poetry. He has also published essays and reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Nation, and The New Yorker, where he has served on the editorial staff.

Born in Bangalore, India, Seshadri moved to Columbus, Ohio, at the age of five. After graduating from Oberlin with a degree in philosophy, he went on to earn an MFA from Columbia University. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, Columbia University, and the MacDowell Colony, and has been awarded a grant from the New York Foundation and The Paris Review's Bernard F. Conners Long Poem Prize.

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