Archives for posts with tag: Charles Simic

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IN THE LIBRARY 
by Charles Simic

There’s a book called
“A Dictionary of Angels.” 
No one has opened it in fifty years, 
I know, because when I did, 
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies. 
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them. 
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away. 

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows. 
The library is a quiet place. 
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books. 
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds. 

She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening. 
The books are whispering. 
I hear nothing, but she does.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953, he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was 21. In 1961, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. He has published more than 60 books including Jackstraws(Harcourt Brace, 1999), a New York TimesNotable Book of the Year; Walking the Black Cat (Harcourt Brace, 1996), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. When appointed U.S. Poet Laureate — a post he served from 2007-2008 — he said, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”

Photo: “Angel Clouds, Ireland” by Cat-Art

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EMPIRE OF DREAMS
by Charles Simic

On the first page of my dreambook
It’s always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn’t be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

Source: Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems (George Braziller Inc., 1999).

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953, he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was 21. In 1961, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. He has published more than 60 books including Jackstraws (Harcourt Brace, 1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Walking the Black Cat (Harcourt Brace, 1996), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. When appointed U.S. Poet Laureate — a post he served from 2007-2008 — he said, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”

Photo of Charles Simic by Michelle Blankenship, USA TODAY.

 

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WATERMELONS
by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic (born May 9, 1938), a Serbian-American poet, 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. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

“Watermelons” is found in Charles Simic’s poetry collection Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk (George Braziller, 1974), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The book is available at Amazon.com.

Photo: “Watermelons at Julia’s Fruit Stand” (Los Molinos, CA) by Michelle Hickock, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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IN THE LIBRARY 

by Charles Simic

There’s a book called
“A Dictionary of Angels.” 
No one has opened it in fifty years, 
I know, because when I did, 
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies. 
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them. 
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away. 

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows. 
The library is a quiet place. 
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books. 
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds. 

She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening. 
The books are whispering. 
I hear nothing, but she does.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953, he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was 21. In 1961, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. He has published more than 60 books including Jackstraws(Harcourt Brace, 1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Walking the Black Cat (Harcourt Brace, 1996), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. When appointed U.S. Poet Laureate — a post he served from 2007-2008 — he said, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”

Photo: “Angel Clouds, Ireland” by Cat-Art