My Noiseless Entourage: Poems [NOOK Book]


This new collection of poems from Charles Simic demonstrates once again his wit, moral acuity, and brilliant use of imagery. His settings are a farmhouse porch, a used-clothing store, empty station platforms; his subjects love, futility, and the sense of an individual life lived among a crowd of literal and...
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My Noiseless Entourage: Poems

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This new collection of poems from Charles Simic demonstrates once again his wit, moral acuity, and brilliant use of imagery. His settings are a farmhouse porch, a used-clothing store, empty station platforms; his subjects love, futility, and the sense of an individual life lived among a crowd of literal and imaginary presences.
Both sharp and sympathetic, the poems of this collection confirm Simic's place as one of the most important and appealing poets of our time.

To Dreams

I'm still living at all the old addresses,
Wearing dark glasses even indoors,
On the hush-hush sharing my bed
With phantoms, visiting in the kitchen

After midnight to check the faucet.
I'm late for school, and when I get there
No one seems to recognize me.
I sit disowned, sequestered and withdrawn.

These small shops open only at night
Where I make my unobtrusive purchases,
These back-door movie houses in seedy neighborhoods
Still showing grainy films of my life,

The hero always full of extravagant hope
Losing it all in the end?-whatever it was-
Then walking out into the cold, disbelieving light
Waiting close-lipped at the exit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Over the past three decades, Simic's compact, often spooky poems of displacement, violence and anxiety have won him national acclaim (and a Pulitzer); for some readers, Simic's frightened children, intrepid shopkeepers and bleak fairy-tale atmospheres mark his work as late-blooming surrealism, while others link his sensibility to the violence he escaped as a child in 1940s Serbia. Simic offers many sinister delights, if few big shockers, in this 14th volume of new work: of its four sections, the first two stick largely to the grittily familiar Simic settings: "All-night cafeterias,/ Dark barrooms/ And poolhalls," not to mention "an empty platform/ With no town in sight." Short, bleary lines alternate streamlined realism with dreamlike gloom: "A tongue by itself in a birdcage" begs for water, while a walker explores "A few homes lately foreclosed." The last (and best) parts of the book expand Simic's repertoire of images, moving from film noir scenes into bizarre parables: "that world out there," the poet shows, "Is a riddle even you can't solve." Helpless, baffled, resigned and nevertheless charming, Simic (Hotel Insomnia; etc.) makes up for his limited range by offering verse with almost no false notes; standout poems attack war or mull the absence of God ("the least he could do is put up a sign"), and the whole collection establishes Simic once again as a reliable master of his particular, melancholy, wry mode. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"Establishes Simic once again as a reliable master of his particular, melancholy, wry mode."
Library Journal
"These poems show a master craftsman at work."
Library Journal
Following closely on the heels of Simic's The Voice at 3:00 A.M., this slim book nevertheless shows a progression. Indirectly (and Simic's writing is nothing if not circuitous, rambling despite its brevity), these are poems about growing older. There is the past to be remembered, the present to be tolerated; death replaces hopes for the future. "Used Clothing Store," for example, begins with its "large stock of past lives/ To rummage through" and ends with the image of dead men's hats pushing you out the door. And what will any of us leave behind? There's a hint of sadness: "Many a poor wretch left no trace/ Of ever having lived here." To call these poems pessimistic or be put off by the subject matter would be a mistake, however. As always, they show a master craftsman at work. Simic's speakers take a long, hard look at reality-at this time, in this place-then transform it. Highly recommended.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with Soho Weekly News, New York Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Simic, original and engaging, keeps us on our toes, guessing, questioning and looking at the world in a new way."
From the Publisher
"Few contemporary poets have been as influential-or as inimitable- as Charles Simic."-THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547563817
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/4/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 80
  • File size: 102 KB

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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Read an Excerpt


It never had a name,
Nor do I remember how I found it.
I carried it in my pocket
Like a lost button
Except it wasn't a button.
Horror movies,
All-night cafeterias,
Dark barrooms
And poolhalls,
On rain-slicked streets.
It led a quiet, unremarkable existence
Like a shadow in a dream,
An angel on a pin,
And then it vanished.
The years passed with their row
Of nameless stations,
Till somebody told me this is it!
And fool that I was,
I got off on an empty platform
With no town in sight.

This street could use a bit of shade
And the same goes for that small boy
Playing alone in the sun,
A shadow to dart after him like a black kitten.
His parents sit in a room with shades drawn.
The stairs to the cellar
Are hardly used any more
Except for an occasional prowler.
Like a troop of traveling actors dressed to play Hamlet,
The evening shadows come.
They spend their days hidden in the trees
Outside the old courthouse.
Now comes the hard part:
What to do with the stones in the graveyard?
The sun doesn't care for ambiguities,
But I do. I open my door and let them in.

Copyright © 2005 by Charles Simic

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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Table of Contents

Description of a Lost Thing 3
Shading Exercise 4
Self-Portrait in Bed 5
To Dreams 6
The Gamblers Upstairs 7
Calamity Crier 8
The Alarm 9
My Noiseless Entourage 10
Fabulous Species and Landscapes 11
Used Clothing Store 15
The Centuries 16
Voyage to Cythera 17

Used Book Store 21
Hitchhikers 22
Graveyard on a Hill 23
The World Runs on Futility 24
Battling Grays 25
Sunlight 26
The Birdie 27
Minds Roaming 28
Cockroach Salon 29
Midnight Feast 30
One Chair 31
Insomnia's Cricket 32
Talk Radio 33

My Turn to Confess 37
The Hermetical and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus 38
On the Farm 39
I See Lots of Sticks on the Ground 40
Everybody Had Lost Track of Time 41
Brethren 42
Ask Your Astrologer 43
Kazoo Wedding 44
Snowy Morning Blues 45
To Fate 46
Slurred Words 47
Meeting the Captain 48
Sweetest 49
Leaves at Night 50

Starlings in a Tree at Dusk 53
The Headline 54
The Tragic Sense of Life 55
The Role of Insomnia in History 56
In the Planetarium 57
In the Morning Half-Awake 58
The Absentee Landlord 59
He Heard with His Dead Ear 60
December 21 61
My Wife Lifts a Finger to Her Lips 62
Our Old Neighbor 63
Pigeons at Dawn 64
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2005

    Simic's Homage to Things that Go Unnoticed

    Charles Simic is a poet, yes, but he is more than that highest compliment in literary circles. Simic is a visionary because he is in tune with the atoms and microns that float through our atmosphere, either discarded or simply ignored, or worse, never noticed by us, the usual beings. He manages is so few terse words to nudge us into awareness. 'Extraordinary efforts are being made To hide things from us, my friend. Some stay up into the wee hours To search their souls. Others undress each other in darkened rooms.' Pause on every page of this physically slim but potent collection of his latest poems and see if you can turn away unchanged. Brilliant poetry from a consistently brilliant poet. Highly recommended. Grady Harp

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