Charles Simic : biography
Dušan "Charles" Simić ( born 9 May 1938) is a Serbian-American poet and 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.
Simic was born in Belgrade, Serbia then part of Yugoslavia. Growing up as a child in war-torn Europe shaped much of his world-view, Simic states. In an interview from the Cortland Review he said, "Being one of the millions of displaced persons made an impression on me. In addition to my own little story of bad luck, I heard plenty of others. I’m still amazed by all the vileness and stupidity I witnessed in my life." Simic immigrated to the United States with his family in 1954 when he was sixteen. He grew up in Chicago and received his B.A. from New York University. He is professor emeritus of American literature and creative writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives on the shore of Bow Lake in Strafford, New Hampshire.
He began to make a name for himself in the early to mid-1970s as a literary minimalist, writing terse, imagistic poems. Critics have referred to Simic poems as "tightly constructed Chinese puzzle boxes." Simic has stated: "Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is merely the bemused spectator."Simic, Charles (ed.) (1992) The Best American Poetry 1992, Charles Scribner’s Sons p xv ISBN 978-0-684-19501-8 He writes on such diverse topics as jazz, art, and philosophy. He is a translator, essayist and philosopher, opining on the current state of contemporary American poetry. He held the position of poetry editor of The Paris Review and was replaced by Dan Chiasson.
Simic was one of the judges for the 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize and continues to contribute poetry and prose to The New York Review of Books. Simic received the US$100,000 Wallace Stevens Award in 2007 from the Academy of American Poets. He was selected by James Billington, Librarian of Congress, to be the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, succeeding Donald Hall. In choosing Simic as the poet laureate, Billington cited "the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry".
- PEN Translation Prize (1980)
- Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship (1983)
- MacArthur Fellowship (1984–1989)
- Pulitzer Prize finalist (1986)
- Pulitzer Prize finalist (1987)
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1990)
- Wallace Stevens Award (2007)
- Frost Medal (2011)