Charles Simic Obituary – Death: Serbian-American Poet Charles Simic Dies Unexpectedly: According to an online obituary on Monday, January 9, 2023, Charles Simic has passed away unexpectedly. However, cause of death was not disclosed.
Mourning his death, Mikhail Iossel wrote; “Rest in Peace, the brilliant and immensely wise Charles Simic. He was my mentor and, I daresay, friend, thoughtful and kind to a recent immigrant trying to start writing in English. He was the reason I applied to the graduate creative writing program at the University of New Hampshire, all these decades ago, having translated his poetry into Russian back in Leningrad. I will never forget our lengthy conversations in his office.”
Charles Simic Wikipedia, Biography, Career
Dušan Simić, known as Charles Simic, is a Serbian American poet and former 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.
Dušan Simić was born in Belgrade. In his early childhood, during World War II, he and his family were forced to evacuate their home several times to escape indiscriminate bombing of Belgrade. 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 brother and mother in order to join his father in 1954 when he was sixteen. He grew up in Chicago. In 1961 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 he earned his B.A. from New York University while working at night to cover the costs of tuition. He is professor emeritus of American literature and creative writing at University of New Hampshire, where he has taught since 1973 and lives 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’s poems as “tightly constructed Chinese puzzle boxes”. He himself stated: “Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is merely the bemused spectator.”
Simic writes on such diverse topics as jazz, art, and philosophy. He was influenced by Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, and Fats Waller. 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. He was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995, received the Academy Fellowship in 1998, and was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2000.
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. He received the US$100,000 Wallace Stevens Award in 2007 from the Academy of American Poets.
Simic 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”.
In 2011, Simic was the recipient of the Frost Medal, presented annually for “lifetime achievement in poetry”.
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