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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Simic’

Can Poetry Reach the Common American Reader?

coDe_100109_Armitage_Simic.gifTomorrow two poetry stars will share a stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. English poet, playwright and translator Simon Armitage (left) will join recent U.S. Poet laureate Charles Simic (right) for an evening of poetry.

GalleyCat caught up with Armitage for an exclusive interview, getting his thoughts on contemporary poetry. “Poetry in the U.S. is very [college] campus-based” explained the poet. “It may become more like that in the UK as creative writing courses are beginning to flourish. But in the U.K., poetry still tends to reach out to a common reader… It still has a place in our daily lives, even if it is a small place. There’s never been a golden age of poetry, it is a certain extent a marginal activity that allows you to say what you want to with out being dictate by market forces.”

When asked about poetry reading tips, he had this advice: “I am a practiced reader, but I don’t do much more than stand there with a book. I guess what I hope is that the poems are allowed to do their work without any theatrics. Any drama that actually takes place is already in the poem. There are accomplished readers, but that’s what they are–readers.”

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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.”