Literature Charles Simic Jackstraws: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780151004225

Jackstraws: Poems

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9780151004225: Jackstraws: Poems

Charles Simic's new collection of sixty-two poems continues to startle. Whether he is writing of wild flowers "Drunk with kissing/The red hot summer breezes"; or of God, that "Boss of all bosses of the universe/Mr. Know-it-all, wheeler-dealer, wire puller"; or of rain drops "Which take turns listening/To each other fall intermittently/As they go around collecting memories," Simic creates powerful, fresh images that are at once slangy and lyrical, irreverent and God-fearing, foreign and all-American, humorous and full of heartache.

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About the Author:

CHARLES SIMIC was born in Belgrade and emigrated to the United States in 1954. He is the author of many books of poetry and prose. Among other honors, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 and served as the Poet Laureate of the United States in 2007–2008.

From Publishers Weekly:

By now, Simic's matter-of-fact tossings off of the gothic, the banal and the absurd are so familiar that it's hard to know when he's putting us on. In this 13th collection, less allusive and lighter in tone than the Pulitzer Prize-winning Walking the Black Cat, "store windows with out-of-business signs" replace "The famous no-shows,/ Truth, Justice, and so forthA" as the poet leads us through blackly comic scenes from post-industrial America's weedy sidewalks and abandoned lots. The "big topics" often get upstaged by images of small annoyancesAflies, spiders and insects win a surprising amount of attention by climbing religious statues, crawling under the napkins of drag queens eating pot roast and provoking mock admiration: "Teeny dadaists on the march,/ You're sly and most witty/ As you disrupt my rare moments/ Of calm." But most of Simic's short, anecdotal lyrics coax depth by skewing ordinary activities, as when depicting lovers "running drenched/ Past the state prison with its armed guards/ Silhouetted in their towers against the sky," or an "evening sunlight" that would corner the speaker, "to tell me so much,/ To tell me absolutely nothing." The long sequences that end the collectionA"The Toy, "Talking to the Ceiling" and "Mystic Life"Aare among his best: promisingly experimental in structure, crammed with bits of conversation, off-center quips, invocations and definitions ("Memory, all-night's bedside tatto artist") that rise above the quotidian world they alternately parody and celebrate. Simic's sly and precocious speakers are at their best when showing us "how quiet the world gets,/ When you roll your eyes back and look."
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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