About Preston Merchant

Preston Merchant has worked as a documentary photographer; he is at work on a project on the worldwide Indian diaspora. A preview, and other galleries, are available at his website. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in the Antioch Review, Sewanee Review, New England Review, Missouri Review, Tameme, and Verse. He also edited the special feature of Verse on poets from India. He lives in New York City.


Preston Merchant Has written the following articles:


Indispensable Books of  Indian Poetry in English

An inadequate but serviceable list

As Compiled By: Preston Merchant


Only the Soul Knows How to Sing: Selections from Kamala Das

Das stopped writing poetry recently after converting to Islam, though she had been called “the first Hindu woman to write honestly about sexual feelings and love.” Her work is rich, unfettered, and charged with the eroticism that animates much of Hindu iconography. … continue reading...

Posted in April 2004: Indian Poetry in EnglishComments (0)

At Home in the Several Worlds

The Oxford India Ramanujan, edited by Molly Daniels-Ramanujan (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004)

As Reviewed By: Preston Merchant

It was a singular moment in the history of Indian letters when A.… continue reading...

Posted in April 2004: Indian Poetry in English, ReviewsComments (0)

At So Many Removes

Trappings by Richard Howard. Turtle Point Press, 1999. 81 pp. $14.95 paper.

As Reviewed By: Preston Merchant

Richard Howard is the high priest of the most secretive sect of the cult of art, one that, sheltered from the rude gaze of public scrutiny, seeks to reward only the initiate.… continue reading...

Posted in ReviewsComments (0)

The Poet’s Prose

Misgivings: My Mother, My Father, Myself by C. K. Williams. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000. 170 pp. $21 hardback.

Repair by C. K. Williams. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999.continue reading...

Posted in ReviewsComments (0)

The Recent Yalies

Shells by Craig Arnold. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1999. 79 pp. $20 cloth, $12 paper.

Ultima Thule by Davis McCombs. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2000.continue reading...

Posted in ReviewsComments (0)

Art & Leisure

Life on Earth by Frederick Seidel. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001. 68 pp. $22 hardback.

As Reviewed By: Preston Merchant

After the World Trade Center towers were destroyed, the New York Times, New York magazine, and other media devoted significant space to the state of the arts, wondering if the usual banalities that pass for American cultural life had now, finally, been rendered null and void.… continue reading...

Posted in ReviewsComments (0)

Love and the Insurgency

Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001)

By: Preston Merchant

After Agha Shahid Ali died on December 8, 2001, of brain cancer, Tehelka, an Indian website, presented an online tribute by his friends and admirers.… continue reading...

Posted in April 2004: Indian Poetry in EnglishComments (0)

The Count of the Castle

In Memoriam: Anthony Hecht (1923-2004)

As Reviewed By: Preston Merchant

When Anthony Hecht first came to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference to teach a summer workshop in the early 1990’s, one of his students was particularly eager to meet him.… continue reading...

Posted in December 2004: In Memoriam, FeaturedComments (0)

At Home in the Several Worlds

The Oxford India Ramanujan, edited by Molly Daniels-Ramanujan (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004)

As Reviewed By: Preston Merchant

It was a singular moment in the history of Indian letters when A.… continue reading...

Posted in April 2004: Indian Poetry in English, Featured, ReviewsComments (0)

Indispensable Books of Indian Poetry in English

an inadequate but serviceable list

As Compiled By: Preston Merchant[private]


Only the Soul Knows How to Sing: Selections from Kamala Das

Das stopped writing poetry recently after converting to Islam, though she had been called “the first Hindu woman to write honestly about sexual feelings and love.” Her work is rich, unfettered, and charged with the eroticism that animates much of Hindu iconography.… continue reading...

Posted in April 2004: Indian Poetry in English, FeaturedComments (0)