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Charles Simić

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Charles Simić

Charles Simić
Born Dušan Simić
(1938-05-09) 9 May 1938
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Occupation Poet
Nationality Serbian, American
Notable awards Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1990)
Wallace Stevens Award (2007)

Dušan "Charles" Simić (Serbian: Душан "Чарлс" Симић ; born 9 May 1938) is a Serbian-American poet and was co-poetry editor of the Paris Review. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn't End, and was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, 1963-1983 and in 1987 for Unending Blues. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Career 1.2
  • Awards 2
  • Bibliography 3
    • Poetry collections 3.1
    • Collections in translations by Simic 3.2
    • Prose collections 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
    • Profiles 5.1
    • Work 5.2
    • Interviews and review 5.3


Early years

Simic was born in Belgrade, Serbia then part of Yugoslavia. Growing up as a child in war-torn Europe shaped much of his world-view, Simic states. In an interview from the Cortland Review he said, "Being one of the millions of displaced persons made an impression on me. In addition to my own little story of bad luck, I heard plenty of others. I'm still amazed by all the vileness and stupidity I witnessed in my life." Simic immigrated to the United States with his family in 1954 when he was sixteen. He grew up in Chicago and received his B.A. from New York University. He is professor emeritus of American literature and creative writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives on the shore of Bow Lake in Strafford, New Hampshire.


He began to make a name for himself in the early to mid-1970s as a literary minimalist, writing terse, imagistic poems. Critics have referred to Simic poems as "tightly constructed Chinese puzzle boxes." Simic has stated: "Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is merely the bemused spectator."[2] He writes on such diverse topics as jazz, art, and philosophy. He is a translator, essayist and philosopher, opining on the current state of contemporary American poetry. He held the position of poetry editor of The Paris Review and was replaced by Dan Chiasson.

Simic was one of the judges for the 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize and continues to contribute poetry and prose to The New York Review of Books. Simic received the US$100,000 Wallace Stevens Award in 2007 from the Academy of American Poets.[3] He was selected by James Billington, Librarian of Congress, to be the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, succeeding Donald Hall. In choosing Simic as the poet laureate, Billington cited "the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry".[4]



Poetry collections

  • 1967: What the Grass Says[6]
  • 1969: Somewhere among Us a Stone is Taking Notes[6]
  • 1971: Dismantling the Silence[6]
  • 1972: White[6]
  • 1974: Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk[6]
  • 1976: Biography and a Lament[6]
  • 1977: Charon's Cosmology[6]
  • 1978: Brooms: Selected Poems[6]
  • 1978: School for Dark Thoughts[6]
  • 1980: Classic Ballroom Dances[6]
  • 1982: Austerities[6]
  • 1983: Weather Forecast for Utopia and Vicinity[6]
  • 1985: Selected Poems, 1963–1983[6] (1986 Pulitzer Prize finalist)
  • 1986: Unending Blues[6] (1987 Pulitzer Prize finalist)
  • 1989: Nine Poems[6]
  • 1989: The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems[6] (1990 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry )
  • 1990: The Book of Gods and Devils[6]
  • 1992: Hotel Insomnia, Harcourt[6]
  • 1994: A Wedding in Hell: Poems[6]
  • 1995: Frightening Toys[6]
  • 1996: Walking the Black Cat: Poems,[6] (National Book Award in Poetry finalist)
  • 1999: Jackstraws: Poems[6] (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) ISBN 0-15-601098-4
  • 2000: Selected Early Poems[6]
  • 2001: Night Picnic,[6] ISBN 0-15-100630-X
  • 2003: The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems[6] ISBN 0-15-603073-X
  • 2004: Selected Poems: 1963–2003, 2004 (winner of the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • 2005: Aunt Lettuce, I Want to Peek under Your Skirt[6] (illustrated by Howie Michels)
  • 2005: My Noiseless Entourage: Poems,[6] ISBN 0-15-101214-8
  • 2006: Monkey Around
  • 2008: 60 Poems,[6] ISBN 0-15-603564-2
  • 2008: That Little Something: Poems,[6] ISBN 0-15-603539-1
  • 2008: Monster Loves His Labyrinth, ISBN 1-931337-40-3
  • 2008: Army: Memoir. In preparation

Collections in translations by Simic

Prose collections

  • 1985: The Uncertain Certainty: Interviews, Essays, and Notes on Poetry[6]
  • 1990: Wonderful Words, Silent Truth[6]
  • 1992: Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell[6]
  • 1994: The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs[6]
  • 1997: Orphan Factory: Essays and Memoirs[6]
  • 2000: A Fly in the Soup: Memoirs[6]
  • 2003: The Metaphysician in the Dark[6]
  • 2008: The Renegade[6]
  • 2015: The Life of Images


  1. ^ "Poet Laureate Timeline: 2001–present". Library of Congress. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ Simic, Charles (ed.) (1992) The Best American Poetry 1992, Charles Scribner's Sons p xv ISBN 978-0-684-19501-8
  3. ^ "Charles Simic Receives The Wallace Stevens Award" (Press release). Academy of American Poets. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  4. ^ Motoko Rich (2 August 2007). "Charles Simic, Surrealist With Dark View, Is Named Poet Laureate". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  5. ^ 1990 Pulitzer Prizes
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay "Former Poet Laureate Charles Simic". Library of Congress. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 

External links


  • Profile and poems of Charles Simic, including audio files, at the Poetry Foundation.
  • Profile and poems written and audio at Poetry Archive
  • biography, poems written and audio
  • Griffin Poetry Prize biography and video clip
  • Hossack, Irene. "Charles Simic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 4 May 2006


  • Charles Simic Poetry, published in Issue Three and Issue Four of The Coffin Factory
  • Charles Simic Online Resources, Library of Congress
  • Audio recording (.mp3) of Charles Simic reading at the Key West Literary Seminar, 2003
  • "Seven Prose Poems" by Charles Simic in The Cafe Irreal Issue 13, 1 February 2005
  • Simic reading from a collection of his own works (Audio, 14 mins)
  • Video of Charles Simic reading at Boston University's Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture, 2009 (60 mins)
  • Simic author page and article archive from The New York Review of Books

Interviews and review

  • Mark Ford (Spring 2005). "Charles Simic, The Art of Poetry No. 90". The Paris Review. 
  • issues 3 and 4The Coffin FactoryPoetry featured in
  • interview August 1998The Cortland Review
  • "Charles Simic: The Orphan Of Silence"; Doctoral thesis by Goran Mijuk 1 February 2002
  • An Interview with Charles Simic by Dejan Stojanović Serbian Magazine, 9–23 August 1991 (No. 89)
  • SESSIONS: Confessions of a Poet Laureate nthWORD Magazine Shorts, 18 April 2011
  • discussion between Charles Simic & Tomaž ŠalamunBomb Magazine2008
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