Sunday, August 05, 2007

e-Flux: Media: Serbian-American Charles Simic the U.S. Poet Laureate

The Yugoslav-born poet Charles Simic has been announced by the Library of Congress to be the new United States’ poet laureate. This way the present co-Poetry Editor of “The Paris Review” will become the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States. He will replace Donald Hall in the Poet Laureate program that promotes poetry across the nation.

Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade and he emigrated along with his family in the United States in 1953. He learned English and he later graduated from the same high school that Ernest Hemingway had attended, Oak Park High School. This was also the place where Simic started to write poetry.

Although he had not been a native English speaker Charles Simic managed to make himself famous for his literary style in short time. In the mid 70s Simic was already known for writing imagistic poems similar to those written by famous William Blake. His first collection was published in 1967, being titled “What the Grass Says”.

But Simic did not stop to poetry or literature and he has become famous also as a translator and essayist; he has written also on different topics such as art, literature and American poetry, philosophy or music. For 34 years Charles Simic was also a teacher at the University of New Hampshire and he was named Professor Emeritus of creative writing and literature.

In 1990 Simic won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book of prose poems “The World Doesn’t End”. However, this is just one important prize among others for Simic, as he also won the Edgar Poe Award, the PEN Translation Prize and many other awards and prizes. Just after he was announced to be name U.S. next Poet Laureate Simi has received another honor: the 14th annual Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Simic has stated that he is “overwhelmed” by the Library of Congress’ selecting him to be the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States.

No comments: