Thursday, August 2, 2007

Charles Simic named new US Poet Laureate

The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, announced today that Charles Simic has been appointed the new Poet Laureate of the United States to replace Donald Hall who held the honor for one year.

Simic, born in Yugoslavia, immigrated to the United States when he was fifteen in 1954 and attended high school and college in Chicago. He is the author of eighteen books of poetry, some of which will now be reprinted. Pasadena has most of the books in their collection. He won the Pulitizer Prize in 1990. His next book of poems will be published in February 2008.

On making the appointment, Billington said, "The range of Charles Simic’s imagination is evident in his stunning and unusual imagery. He handles language with the skill of a master craftsman, yet his poems are easily accessible, often meditative and surprising. He has given us a rich body of highly organized poetry with shades of darkness and flashes of ironic humor."

His entry on Wikipedia includes this quote from Simic about his mimimalist, puzzling, sometimes surrealist style: "Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is only the bemused spectator."

Scroll down the Library of Congress announcement to learn more about the Poet Laureate program and to see what Poet Laureates have done and are expected to do.

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