A Fly in the Soup: Memoirs

A Fly in the Soup: Memoirs

by Charles Simic

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The coming-of-age of one of America's best-loved poets, from his childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia to his bohemian years in New York City
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The coming-of-age of one of America's best-loved poets, from his childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia to his bohemian years in New York City

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
A Fly in the Soup by Charles Simic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic, is more than a writer's account of his own formation; it is also the story of a man shaped by extremes of history, a story of displacement, war and exile—a central story of the last century and one that Simic, who never let horror deprive him of aesthetic and sensual pleasure, tells vividly.
Library Journal
Celebrated poet Simic (winner of both a Pulitzer and a MacArthur) here offers his memoirs. The first 15 chapters present a consistent narrative, moving from Simic's childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia and Paris to his young manhood in Chicago and New York City. Here he sets up motives of European surrealism, mysticism, eroticism, and flights of romance and rhetoric. Simic's Slavic originality is introduced with simplicity and sensitivity; the young poet discovers the joys of the public library system and the "cultivated, controlled anarchy" of jazz. But subsequent passages become less even, with several parts reading like stylistic inserts. Simic's nostalgia for New York City in the 1960s, his poet's self-awarenesses, his intoxications, and a cinematographic dream list pepper the middle of the memoir. Skeptical about anything that makes any sense, Simic strategically makes small forays into the embarrassing and the incomprehensible. Passages about dreams, sexual desire, politics, and theology and pronouncements about poetry become less revealing, at times anti-intellectual, and, ultimately, less intimate. In the end, the memoir poetically wanders apart. Recommended for fans of Simic.--Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
Poets on Poetry Series
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Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet 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.

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