Charles Simić

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Charles Simić
Born Dušan Simić
(1938-05-09) 9 May 1938 (age 76)
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 [dǔʃan tʃârls sǐːmitɕ]; 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]


Early years[edit]

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.[citation needed]


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[edit]

Collections in translations by Simic[edit]

Prose collections[edit]

  • 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]


  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[edit]



Interviews and review[edit]