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The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems
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The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems

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by Charles Simic
 

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Charles Simic has been widely celebrated for his brilliant poetic imagery; his social, political, and moral alertness; his uncanny ability to make the ordinary extraordinary; and not least, the sardonic humor all his own. Gathering much of his material from the seemingly mundane minutiae of contemporary American culture, Simic matches meditations on spiritual

Overview


Charles Simic has been widely celebrated for his brilliant poetic imagery; his social, political, and moral alertness; his uncanny ability to make the ordinary extraordinary; and not least, the sardonic humor all his own. Gathering much of his material from the seemingly mundane minutiae of contemporary American culture, Simic matches meditations on spiritual concerns and the weight of history with a nimble wit, shifting effortlessly to moments of clear vision and intense poetic revelation.

Chosen as one of the New York Library's 25 Books to Remember for 2003, The Voice at 3:00 A. M. was also nominated for a National Book Award. The recipient of many prizes, Simic most recently received Canada's Griffin Prize. The poems in this collection--spanning two decades of his work--present a rich and varied survey of a remarkable lyrical journey.

In the Street
Beauty, dark goddess,
We met and parted
As though we parted not.
Like two stopped watches
In a dusty store window,
One golden morning of time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR CHARLES SIMIC

"Charles Simic's writing comes dancing out on the balls of its feet, colloquially fit as a fiddle, a sparring partner for the world."--Seamus Heaney

"Few poets have been as influential--or as inimitable--as Charles Simic."--The New York Times Book Review

The New York Times
This poet's repetitiveness is a complicated matter, because it's intimately related to the themes around which his poetry revolves. Simic can't quite believe in anything, and he can't quite not believe in anything; as a result, his irony and his romanticism can grind against each other in a tortured stasis.— David Orr
Publishers Weekly
With his 1989 collection The World Doesn't End a Pulitzer winner, and 1996's Walking the Black Cat an NBA finalist, Simic has achieved major recognition for his wryly acerbic meditations and send-ups; this selection from his last eight books (excluding the prose poems of The World Doesn't End), matched with 19 new poems, should pave the way for more. On re-reading work that is approaching its 20th year in print, readers will find that Simic's signature quatrains and other free verse stanzas retain their forceful mix of joy, wit and melancholy: "How do you like that?/ I said to no one./ How do you like that?/ I said it again today upon walking." The new poems, most no more than a page long, include the neo-Yeatsian foreboding of "Grayheaded School Children" ("Their dead fathers shuffle past them/ On their way to the kitchen"); a creepy, Raymond Carver-esque "Empty Barbershop" ("The invisible barber's greasy fingers/ Making your hair stand straight up"); and, near the end, "The Hearse": "Pulled by a teenage Jesus already carrying his cross/ Pulled by your first love/ Pulled by every dog you ever had/ Pulled by the fly whose legs you plucked." The table of contents reveals the book's chronological organization, and the books from which the poems are taken. But refreshingly, there are no section breaks within the text, allowing readers to follow the unbroken arc of this poet's skeptical, humane meditations without interruption. It's an opportunity that will be exploited even by fans who own multiple Simic collections. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Always the poetic master, the Simic we meet in these poems (originally published in books from 1986 to the present) is no longer one who would, to quote one of his very early poems, "Go inside a stone"-and presumably shut the rest of the world out. He is older, wiser, more sedate. As tensions have risen in the former Yugoslavia, where he was born, and the world at large, his work has taken on a political urgency while still clutching its surrealist core. Here we find "The City," with "at least one crucified at every corner." In short, terse, sardonic poems, we meet troubled men and women, be they ghosts, the homeless, the lonely, or those who leave behind broken dolls and toy soldiers. The poet boldly states, "I believe in the soul; so far/ it hasn't made much difference." Luckily for readers, these poems do make a difference, rising Chagall-like above the fears and desolation of which they speak. If there were ever a poet whose work was needed in these difficult times, it would be Simic. An important purchase for all libraries.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156030731
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/03/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
194
Sales rank:
1,292,135
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x (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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Voice at 3:00 A.M. : Selected Late and New Poems 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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