A NEW YORK REVIEW E-BOOK ORIGINAL As former U.S. poet laureate Charles Simic has said, the secret to our identities lies not in grand events, but in the parentheses between events–and in these brief essays, we get a taste of this great poet’s parenthetical observations and recollections. He takes us from his rattling house on a stormy New Hampshire night, to a park bench in Washington Square where two old men sit discussing the women they’ve known, to a business convention in Topeka where he reads a poem, to the vanished subterranean jazz clubs of old New York, and beyond. Part autobiographical fragment, part waking dream, these pieces are marked by Simic’s characteristic wit, audacity, and awe before life’s strangeness.
Contents include: –Reminiscing about the Night Before –Strangers on a Train –Confessions of a Poet Laureate –The Blustering Blast –The Buster Keaton Cure –On Losing –On the Couch with Philip Roth, at the Morgue with Pol Pot
“Charles Simic’s writing comes dancing out on the balls of its feet, colloquially fit as a fiddle, a sparring partner for the world.”–Seamus Heaney
“Few poets have been as influential–or as inimitable–as Charles Simic.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Simic’s is a unique and necessary voice in American poetry, one that concisely articulates a profound aversion to simplistic answers and bland comforts. Simic’s brooding lyrics are eloquently spare, like bare tree limbs in moonlight or a tenement fire escape bathed in neon.” –Booklist
“A master of the surreal, Simic packs his poems full of horror movies, bleak jokes, savage ironies and the things an insomniac notices on the ceiling.” –People
“A master craftsman…” –Library Journal
“. . . Simic brings off a masterfully casual beauty, whether discussing the creation of poetry and the poet’s social role, praising food and the blues, or relating the travails of youth.” –Kirkus Reviews