Review by g emil reutter
Published in celebration of his being named Poet Laureate of the United States, Sixty Poems is a short introduction into the world of Charles Simic. The obvious is difficult/ To prove. Many prefer/ The hidden. I did, too./ I listened to the trees. Yet Simic over and over again in these collected poems brings the difficult reality of the surreal into view. Just thinking about it, I forgot to wind the clock./ We woke up in the dark/ How quiet the city is, I said/ Like the clocks of the dead my wife replied. Grandmother on the wall, I heard the snows of your childhood/ begin to fall. He brings us to paradise in a shady sort of way, The curtains of the cheap hotels flying out of windows/ Like seagulls, but everything else quiet…/ Steam rising out of the subway gratings…/ Bodies glistening with sweat…/Madness, and you might even say paradise!
Simic at his best from the poem, Factory
The Machines were gone, and so were those who worked them.
A single high-backed chair stood like a throne
In all that empty space.
I was on the floor making myself comfortable
For a long night of little sleep and much thinking.
An empty birdcage hung from a steam pipe.
In it I kept an apple and a small paring knife.
I placed newspapers all around me on the floor
So I could jump at the slightest rustle.
It was like the scratching of a pen,
The silence of the night writing in its diary.
He brings us into the poem Shelley with this:
Poet of the dead leaves driven like ghosts,
Driven like pestilence-stricken multitudes,
I read you first
One rainy evening in New York City
And in the eight stanza:
In a dimly lit side street
Where the sidewalk shone like a ballroom mirror
At Closing time—
A well-dressed man without any shoes
Asked me for money.
His eyes shone, he look triumphant
Like a fencing master
Who had just struck a mortal blow.
His images are outstanding, his view of the everyday and everyway is on display in this book. After a read you will find yourself thinking of the images, the places, the people and of Charles Simic.
You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Sixty-Poems-Charles-Simic/dp/0156035642
g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here: About g emil reutter