Selected Early Poems–Charles Simic

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.

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