Selected Early Poems, Charles Simic; George Braziller, New York: 1999
Covers “What the Grass Says” (1967) to “Pyramids and Sphinxes” (1979). Simic comes across as pretty consistent, with his hallmark tight poems, easy, not too pushy surrealism, with some notable and equally consistent departures with poems like “The Tomb of Stephane Mallarme” or “Furniture Mover,” which toy with more disruptive enjambment and a more incantatory rhythm–poems like these, in fact, feel like the anti-Simic, and yet his sensibility is still there, so the collection as a whole is still Simic all the way. Also of note is the more direct images of warfare and aftermath in the early works, as example, the poem “The Lesson” or the really startling “A Landscape with Crutches”–this feeling, the kind of silence-immediately-following, is much stronger in the earlier works, I think, as represented here.
I’ve been delaying things for a little while here, waiting for a proper, ceremonial way to jump into internet-land, but alas, I think it’s time to just get rolling. It feels good to talk into this box. I’m sure I’ll start, very soon, the usual anxieties over page views and the endless void that is a blog on poetry, but until then, I’ll just sit here with myself and enjoy the view. Thanks for having me, or thanks for letting me have you.
For the first few posts I think I’ll talk about Charles Simic and Matthea Harvey, and, just to get some content rolling (since I’m quite ambitiously launching like 47 blogs at once) I might shamelessly post a few papers I wrote in the MFA. Why the hell not? At any rate, the only other thing I can say is that I plan to favor frequency over length and avoid the long diatribes it seems often accompany these sorts of things. Not much on breaking news, either. Mostly, some close reads, questions, links to good places,and the necessary updates on what’s going on in my publishing life, if only for my own record. Let me light this match. The canyons are lovely.