POETIC SUCCESS Charles Simic is a Serbian-American writer and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The author has published more than 60 books since the beginning of his career.
Next week marks the beginning of the Rollins College annual “Winter With The Writers” festival – each Thursday in February, a writer will come to campus to teach a master class and give a reading—both of which are free and open to the public. Charles Simic is the first writer to arrive, followed by Justin Cronin, Laura van den Berg, Alan Michael Parker, and Madison Smartt Bell.
Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938 in Yugoslavia, which shapes much of his world view. In 1954, he left the country with his mother and brother to come to the United States. His first full length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published in 1967. Since then, Simic has published over sixty books, his most recent being New and Selected Poems (2013). His other works include Master of Disguises (2010); Jackstraws (1999); and The World Doesn’t End (1989) which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990.
In 2007, Simic was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate. Librarian of Congress James Billington said, “The range of 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.” Simic—always humble—replied, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”
When asked about his unique, conversational style, Simic said, “I try to make poems accessible, to make them almost disarming in their approach… A welcoming style that says, ‘Come in. Make yourself at home.’ But, then, strange things begin to happen.”
Simic’s master class is at 4:00 p.m. on February 6 in the Bush Auditorium and his reading begins at 7:30 p.m.