The Paris Review is thrilled to announce Vijay Seshadri as the twelfth poetry editor in the magazine’s sixty-six-year history.
Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and moved to the U.S. at the age of five. He is the author of the poetry books Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow, and 3 Sections, as well as many essays, reviews, and memoir fragments. Over the course of his career, his work has been widely published, anthologized, and recognized with many honors, most recently the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for 3 Sections and a 2015 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
“It is a wonderful and unique privilege to join the distinguished line of Paris Review poetry editors,” Seshadri said. “It is also an exciting privilege. All the questions that can be asked about poetry—about its form, purpose, scope—are more bristling and pressing now in America than they have been since the sixties. Anyone who loves the art should love the opportunity that the Paris Review poetry editorship offers to mediate the conversations between individual poets and the culture at large, especially in this watershed historical moment.”
Seshadri was named poetry editor after a year of guest poetry editors at The Paris Review: over the past four issues, four distinguished poets—Seshadri, Henri Cole, Shane McCrae, and Monica Youn—selected and edited the magazine’s poetry. The program was one of the first innovations of editor Emily Nemens, who was appointed in 2018. “The guest poetry editor program brought to the magazine the work of poets new to our pages and those for whom publication in the Review is a kind of homecoming,” Nemens said. “The dynamism of it was exciting, but I am also thrilled to grow the magazine’s poetry program with Vijay. Already he has demonstrated intelligence, enthusiasm, and empathy in his editing, and I know he’ll take the magazine’s poetry to new heights.”
As guest poetry editor for issue no. 229, Seshadri published work from past Review contributors such as Eileen Myles, D. Nurkse, and Ishion Hutchinson, and published Cornelius Eady for the first time in the magazine. He also acquired translations of poems by Jorge Luis Borges and Alain Mabanckou, and his issue features the fifth part of Frank Bidart’s “Hours of the Night” sequence. The Fall issue, which will be on newsstands September 10, features poetry by Solmaz Sharif and Kevin Prufer, among others.
Donald Hall agreed to be the first poetry editor of The Paris Review over drinks with George Plimpton at a pub in Oxford, where Hall was a student. They decided that their mission would be “to represent a generation of writers.” The Paris Review has since stretched beyond a single generation to many, and has represented each of them in its turn. The sixties saw as poetry editors X. J. Kennedy and then Tom Clark. Michael Benedikt took over from 1974 to 1980. The post was held by Jonathan Galassi until the end of the eighties, followed by Patricia Storace and Richard Howard. After the death of George Plimpton in 2003, Charles Simic and Dan Chiasson both spent time working with Meghan O’Rourke as poetry editors. Translator, poet, and scholar Robyn Creswell was appointed poetry editor in 2010 and curated the Review’s poetry list until 2018. He remains an advisory editor to the magazine.
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