Simic's poetry known for accessibility, originality and humor
Full article online at: http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2007/August/200708101458581CJsamohT0.9762689.html
Poet Charles Simic at the City University of New York. (File photo © AP Images)
Washington -- Charles Simic, the new poet laureate of the United States, did not begin learning English until he was 15 and moved to New York City, then Chicago, after a traumatic childhood in the former Yugoslavia.
“The big, big influence on my life was being born in Yugoslavia in 1938. And then, in 1941, the war started and I was there during the war, and then in the years after the war under communism. The war years in Yugoslavia were pure hell,” Simic told USINFO in an interview August 9.
In 1953, Simic, his mother and brother were able to travel to Paris, where they stayed for a year. Then they moved on to the United States to join Simic’s father. “If you came to New York in 1954, it was incredible. Europe was still gray; there were still ruins. New York was just dazzling. When I was a little kid in Yugoslavia I loved jazz, I loved movies, so this was paradise,” Simic said.