New U.S. Poet Laureate: Charles Simic

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic, who learned English as a teenage immigrant, will be the new U.S. poet laureate, the Library of Congress announced yesterday. The native of Yugoslavia, who lives in Strafford, N.H., will replace another New Hampshire poet, Donald Hall, as head of the poet laureate program, which promotes poetry across the nation.

A sample of Simic’s work:

The Something
By Charles Simic

Here come my night thoughts
On crutches,
Returning from studying the heavens.
What they thought about
Stayed the same,
Stayed immense and incomprehensible.

My mother and father smile at each other
Knowingly above the mantel.
The cat sleeps on, the dog
Growls in his sleep.
The stove is cold and so is the bed.

Now there are only these crutches
To contend with.
Go ahead and laugh, while I raise one
With difficulty,
Swaying on the front porch,
While pointing at something
In the gray distance.

You see nothing, eh?
Neither do I, Mr. Milkman.
I better hit you once or twice over the head
With this fine old prop,
So you don’t go off muttering

I saw something!

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