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Simic Named New Poet Laureate

The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports that Charles Simic is to be named the country’s 15th poet laureate by the Librarian of Congress today. He succeeds Donald Hall, a fellow New Englander, who has been poet laureate for the past year. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Simic, a native of Yugoslavia, emigrated to the US at the age of sixteen and started writing poetry in English only a few years after learning the language. He has published more than 20 volumes of poetry, as well as essay collections, translations and a memoir.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will announce Simic’s appointment. Billington said he chose Simic from a short list of 15 poets because of “the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry,” adding: “He’s very hard to describe, and that’s a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears.”

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