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From Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Charles Simic comes a dazzling collection of poems as original, meditative, and humorous as the legendary poet himself. This latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic, one of America’s most celebrated poets, demonstrates his revered signature style—a mix of understated brilliance, wry melancholy, and sardonic wit. These s From Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Charles Simic comes a dazzling collection of poems as original, meditative, and humorous as the legendary poet himself. This latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic, one of America’s most celebrated poets, demonstrates his revered signature style—a mix of understated brilliance, wry melancholy, and sardonic wit. These seventy luminous poems range in subject from mortality to personal ads, from the simple wonders of nature to his childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia. For over fifty years, Simic has delighted readers with his innovative form, quiet humor, and his rare ability to limn our interior life and concisely capture the depth of human emotion. These stunning, succinct poems—most no longer than a page, some no longer than a paragraph—validate and reinforce Simic’s importance and relevance in modern poetry.


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From Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Charles Simic comes a dazzling collection of poems as original, meditative, and humorous as the legendary poet himself. This latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic, one of America’s most celebrated poets, demonstrates his revered signature style—a mix of understated brilliance, wry melancholy, and sardonic wit. These s From Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Charles Simic comes a dazzling collection of poems as original, meditative, and humorous as the legendary poet himself. This latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic, one of America’s most celebrated poets, demonstrates his revered signature style—a mix of understated brilliance, wry melancholy, and sardonic wit. These seventy luminous poems range in subject from mortality to personal ads, from the simple wonders of nature to his childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia. For over fifty years, Simic has delighted readers with his innovative form, quiet humor, and his rare ability to limn our interior life and concisely capture the depth of human emotion. These stunning, succinct poems—most no longer than a page, some no longer than a paragraph—validate and reinforce Simic’s importance and relevance in modern poetry.

30 review for The Lunatic: Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    Because all things write their own stories / No matter how humble Nobody has the ability to extract the soul of everyday existence and transcribe it into beautifully surreal, luminous prose quite like Charles Simic. Former poet laureate to the United States and Pulitzer prize winner, Mr. Simic returns in print with his 2015 collection The Lunatic, published simultaneously alongside his collected essays in The Life of Images: Selected Prose, and it is certainly cause for cerebral celebration. The Because all things write their own stories / No matter how humble Nobody has the ability to extract the soul of everyday existence and transcribe it into beautifully surreal, luminous prose quite like Charles Simic. Former poet laureate to the United States and Pulitzer prize winner, Mr. Simic returns in print with his 2015 collection The Lunatic, published simultaneously alongside his collected essays in The Life of Images: Selected Prose, and it is certainly cause for cerebral celebration. The Lunatic is Simic's first all-new collection since 2010's war-torn Master of Disguises, in the meantime only teasing his readers with several new poems in his New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012 and various magazine publications¹. Found within is a refinement of his already pristine prose that combines his signature wit and humor. Looking back on a long life, Simic finds comfort in lazy afternoons, explores the beauty of sunrises, reflects on his past and the aspects of aging, and never fails to illuminate the comical and tragic sides of life to the heights of poetic beauty.Oh, I said My subject is the soul Difficult to talk about, Since it is invisible, Silent and often absent. Even when it shows itself In the eyes of a child Or a dog without a home, I'm at a loss for words. While reading Simic it is hard not to look for the poem in everything around you. Simic has a gift for peering into the soul of everything, even the most mundane of objects, and finding beauty. Light and the sunrise are frequent examples in The Lunatic, asking us to consider the magic of the way the sunrise gets ‘on your knees by my bed / To help a pair of my old shoes / Find their way out of dark.’ It’s his ability to turn any idea into a fanfare of metaphor that really shines, always doing so in the most fluid and deceptively simple manner that turns everyday reality into a wild fantasy world where the Thing-in-itself becomes an active object of supreme power. In The Lunatic, it is the quiet, peaceful aspects of life that are examined—the warm spring afternoons so glorious that ‘if I were to face a firing squad / On a day like this, I’d wear / One of your roadside flowers / Behind my ear, lift my chin high...’ or the minutes of quiet introspection when even the birds keep silent in respect for the moment. So Early In the Morning It pains me to see an old woman fret over A few small coins outside a grocery store— How swiftly I forget her as my own grief Finds me again—a friend at death’s door And the memory of the night we spent together. I had so much love in my heart afterward, I could have run into the street naked Confident as anyone I met would understand My madness and my need to tell them About life being both cruel and beautiful, But I did not—despite the overwhelming evidence: A crow bent over a dead squirrel in the road, The lilac bushes flowering in some yard, And the sight of a dog free from his chain Searching through a neighbor’s trash can. The above poem represents all I’ve come to believe about Simic’s poetry, particularly the unison of the cruelty and beauty of life. Simic once wrote that ‘everyone wants to explain the poem, except the poet’², and I find this poem, particularly the final stanza, explains through a collection of images more than any review could ever manage. The first portion is also of importance and grasps another key aspect of this collection: the acknowledgement of aging and the reflections on the past. A child lifted in his mother’s arms to see a parade And that old man throwing bread crumbs To the pigeons crowding around him in the park, Could they be the same person? This question posed in Eternities, shows the way the past and present is never separate, but a continuation of one another, a line stretching out eternally into space and time. Simic brings a perfect balance of an older, European generation complete with God, Hell and fables, with a modern Western viewpoint that takes comfort in a simple glass of wine or a field of grazing cows. While the typical noir aspects of Simic are less frequent, he replaces them with images of death row and mortality that more than fill the void.Oh, Memory You’ve been paying visits To that old hunchbacked tailor In his long-torn-down shop, Hoping to catch a glimpse Of yourself in his mirror As he sticks steel pins And makes chalk marks On a small child’s black suit Last seen with its pants Dangling from a high beam In your grandmother’s attic. Simic’s latest collection brings a quiet investigation into life that best reveals itself after multiple readings. It is a world of quiet pastoral images where imps and fable lurk just beneath the surface and the memories of bloodshed amidst his childhood territory in Serbia still pulse through his veins. His poetry lets us hear the majestic songs of a babbling brook and see the portraits painted by the rising sun. Simic presents the world as it is, but adorns it with a magical quality that makes each passing moment feel as if it belongs in the fairytale worlds I read to my daughter each night; Simic shows us the magic alive within our own world so that the fables of our imagination seem less luminous than everyday reality. 4.5/5 The Executioner’s Daughter Waiting for her to come to me After she’s done scrubbing the bloodstains Out of her father’s shirt, Already hearing her bare feet On the hard floor outside my cell, While quickly thinking up ways To occupy my two hands As she steps out of her skirt, And explain to her between kisses How after waiting a lifetime In devotion to various lost causes, I found happiness in the arms Of Death’s prettiest daughter, Tending to her bedtime needs While I still have a head on my shoulders. ¹ The Spring 2015 issue of The Paris Review contains a few poems of extreme interest. Particularly January which I was surprised wasn't included in this collection and would like to take a moment to examine here: Children's fingerprints On a frozen window Of a small schoolhouse. An empire, I read somewhere, Maintains itself through The cruelty of its prisons. The petite poem packs an immense investigation of ideas in the slim lines. It is a prime example of how poetry is as much about the unsaid as the precise placement of the 'said', presenting an image alongside an idea and having faith in the reader to draw the conclusions assumed between the two. It would seem that the more recent Simic poetry has cut anything extraneous to let the imagination flourish freely instead of building more restraint passageways of prose to direct the reader to the intended message. It is both a maturity of already wise poetry and faith in an intelligent reader that works wonderfully without detracting from Simic's gift of words. Such elegance and respect for the reader is rife within The Lunatic. ² From The Monster Loves His Labyrinth

  2. 5 out of 5

    Khashayar Mohammadi

    Witty and snappy; just not my cup of tea.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mursalin Mosaddeque

    Simic's poems are beyond beautiful. I am grateful to live in a world where these poems exist. Simic's poems are beyond beautiful. I am grateful to live in a world where these poems exist.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    My habit of snapping up each Simic book as it appears reminds me of the guy who always orders the same dish in the same restaurant long after the flavor's familiar and any surprise is gone. After 30 years, it's difficult to distinguish one book from the next; but some elemental need is satisfied. With Simic there's always the same harrowed constellations turning slowly in the kaleidoscope, too tired to terrify, occasionally dazzling, underscored by the base note of melancholy. There's the cluster My habit of snapping up each Simic book as it appears reminds me of the guy who always orders the same dish in the same restaurant long after the flavor's familiar and any surprise is gone. After 30 years, it's difficult to distinguish one book from the next; but some elemental need is satisfied. With Simic there's always the same harrowed constellations turning slowly in the kaleidoscope, too tired to terrify, occasionally dazzling, underscored by the base note of melancholy. There's the cluster of twilight, night, death and snow spitting from a winter sky; the antic adventures of insects; a scattering of black cats; insomnia; a few weary devils and murderers; a shabbily-costumed troupe from a failed commedia dell'arte, working one last magic trick before retreating into silence and lonely rooms lit with a single light. And along the edges, even more faded this time around, the exhausted eroticism of memory.A nearly leafless potted plant No one ever waters or pays attention to Cast its shadow on the bedroom wall With what looked to me like wild joy.Simic exactly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett

    Charles Simic is one of my favorite poets. So it pains me to say this is not a very good book. At all. I should know better by now. It seems to be the rule rather than the exception that the very late books by the greatest poets I know disappoint me. Some recent cases in point: Gerald Stern's In Beauty Bright, Stephen Dunn's Lines of Defense, Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night (I'm no sure how it won the awards it did). I am not trying to be mean spirited. I owe so much to Simic. But when Charles Simic is one of my favorite poets. So it pains me to say this is not a very good book. At all. I should know better by now. It seems to be the rule rather than the exception that the very late books by the greatest poets I know disappoint me. Some recent cases in point: Gerald Stern's In Beauty Bright, Stephen Dunn's Lines of Defense, Louise Gluck's Faithful and Virtuous Night (I'm no sure how it won the awards it did). I am not trying to be mean spirited. I owe so much to Simic. But when most the inside flap is about how important Simic is to poetry in general and the back is about how many awards he's won, that should have told me that this book was published because of what was written in his previous books, not this one. I read this whole collection in about 45 minutes. There is so little of the wonderful mystery and weirdness that makes Simic's poetry so amazing. So little To savor and linger over. In fact, there were many passages next to which I simply scribbled a question mark---not to indicate confusion, but disappointment over the banality of the line or stanza. Out of deep respect to Simic, not that he needs me to uphold his honor, I'm not going to quote these lines. Better to look on my shelf and love the Simic who gave us The World Doesn't End and My Noiseless Entourage and his recent and wonderful New and Selected Poems.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bartleby

    Short poems that focus on short-lived images, making you feel all warm, cozy and tingly on the inside. Some works better than others. Thus The long day has ended in which so much And so little happened. Great hopes were dashed, Then halfheartedly restored once again. Mirrors became animated and emptied, Obeying the whims of chance. The hands of the church clock moved, At times gently, at times violently. Night fell. The brain and its mysteries Deepened. The red neon sign FIREWORKS FOR SALE came on a roof Of Short poems that focus on short-lived images, making you feel all warm, cozy and tingly on the inside. Some works better than others. Thus The long day has ended in which so much And so little happened. Great hopes were dashed, Then halfheartedly restored once again. Mirrors became animated and emptied, Obeying the whims of chance. The hands of the church clock moved, At times gently, at times violently. Night fell. The brain and its mysteries Deepened. The red neon sign FIREWORKS FOR SALE came on a roof Of a grim old building across the street. A nearly leafless potted plant No one ever waters or pays attention to Cast its shadow on the bedroom wall With what looked to me like wild joy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I grabbed this from the local library as I have recently been much more interested in reading writers from the same countries as my family. Charles Simic came to the USA from Yugoslavia about the same time my family came to Canada from Yugoslavia. This is the first time I have read anything from him. It was... Okay? The Lunatic has a few poems that I connected with, that made me stop and think. I don't think I really disliked any, but a lot of it was just really not my style, and I didn't feel li I grabbed this from the local library as I have recently been much more interested in reading writers from the same countries as my family. Charles Simic came to the USA from Yugoslavia about the same time my family came to Canada from Yugoslavia. This is the first time I have read anything from him. It was... Okay? The Lunatic has a few poems that I connected with, that made me stop and think. I don't think I really disliked any, but a lot of it was just really not my style, and I didn't feel like I got much out of it. Recommended for people that like their poetry a bit abstract, formless, existential crisis-y. People who are not me? I would still read more from Simic in the hopes of finding more of the stuff I did like.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    This rating/review is based on an ARC I got from work. I enjoyed this quite a bit and I'm glad I grabbed it off the ARC shelf. This is the first work by Simic I've read, and I think I'll read some more of his work (specifically, his Pulitzer prize-winning The World Doesn't End if not more). These aren't especially difficult poems, which is how I feel about some of the poetry books I pick up off the ARC shelf. These are lovely, lively, clever poems that have suck with me quite a bit. This also is p This rating/review is based on an ARC I got from work. I enjoyed this quite a bit and I'm glad I grabbed it off the ARC shelf. This is the first work by Simic I've read, and I think I'll read some more of his work (specifically, his Pulitzer prize-winning The World Doesn't End if not more). These aren't especially difficult poems, which is how I feel about some of the poetry books I pick up off the ARC shelf. These are lovely, lively, clever poems that have suck with me quite a bit. This also is part of my 2015 Read Harder challenge! Task 17: A collection of poetry! Task 6: A book by a person whose gender is different from your own! (This is a book I'm probably going to move around to different challenge task as needed. Ha.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric T. Voigt

    Since I was feeling let down by the quality of the last two items I returned, unfinished, to the library (Halt & Catch Fire Season 2 yesterday, The Caveman's Valentine today) it seemed like a good time to finish something whose quality hadn't been an issue when I left it idling. It was waiting for me on the shelf as I figured it would be. Read a few pages about quiet and light while I walked home in the oddly-dark late morning. Got to the bunch about New York and aging going up the drive, then s Since I was feeling let down by the quality of the last two items I returned, unfinished, to the library (Halt & Catch Fire Season 2 yesterday, The Caveman's Valentine today) it seemed like a good time to finish something whose quality hadn't been an issue when I left it idling. It was waiting for me on the shelf as I figured it would be. Read a few pages about quiet and light while I walked home in the oddly-dark late morning. Got to the bunch about New York and aging going up the drive, then sat here on the couch and finished the thing, chuckling or nodding affirmation as each poem dictated.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I like Simic, but I'm glad I borrowed this instead of buying it. I'm wondering why this collection is so absent of strong craft or interesting content or even the sharp wit he's known for. Does one not feel the need to try as hard once they've won enough awards? Maybe I'm just out of the loop on "old dude" poetry. But there's very little that's memorable about The Lunatic, and I immediately had to pull one of Simic's old, good collections off the shelf after reading this to get the taste of it o I like Simic, but I'm glad I borrowed this instead of buying it. I'm wondering why this collection is so absent of strong craft or interesting content or even the sharp wit he's known for. Does one not feel the need to try as hard once they've won enough awards? Maybe I'm just out of the loop on "old dude" poetry. But there's very little that's memorable about The Lunatic, and I immediately had to pull one of Simic's old, good collections off the shelf after reading this to get the taste of it out of my mouth.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    You know how difficult it is to write good poetry? Or even okay poetry? Really fucking difficult. That's why I feel bad rating this lowly, because it's not bad at all. Just not my thing. There were a few nice turns of phrase here and there. You know how difficult it is to write good poetry? Or even okay poetry? Really fucking difficult. That's why I feel bad rating this lowly, because it's not bad at all. Just not my thing. There were a few nice turns of phrase here and there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Gorgeous poems made of minimal, enigmatic figures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    My first Simic; apparently, not the one to start with. Will have to go back and check out some of his earlier work.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    It is hard to know what the author means in his title.  Given the generally symbolic nature of the author's poetry [1], something that is pretty easy to understand, who exactly is the author referring to as a lunatic?  Is the author saying that the artist is a lunatic for being sensitive enough to what is going on to wonder about the private life of fleas and rats and the more unseemly aspects of the world that fill the attention of the author here?  Is it the world that is made up of lunatics, It is hard to know what the author means in his title.  Given the generally symbolic nature of the author's poetry [1], something that is pretty easy to understand, who exactly is the author referring to as a lunatic?  Is the author saying that the artist is a lunatic for being sensitive enough to what is going on to wonder about the private life of fleas and rats and the more unseemly aspects of the world that fill the attention of the author here?  Is it the world that is made up of lunatics, or the reading audience?  It is hard to say.  This is not a book that makes all of its layers explicit, but seems to revel in presenting a somewhat skewed look at the world and a deliberate choice to pay attention to things that are usually ignored or swept under the rug, and that quality is noteworthy enough to think that the author is attempting to forestall at least a little bit of that criticism by passing himself off as a harmless lunatic rather than someone who really wishes to threaten the world order around him, which would be a far more dangerous role to play. Like many books of poetry, this is a fairly short one, divided into four parts.  The poems are, in general, pretty short, but although the book is less than 100 pages, the poetry is certainly well worth reading and reflecting over.  The author muses on death often, reflects on memory and the problems that it brings, and has an intriguing look at creation, whether dealing with plants or animals or even the weather.  In the titular poem a brave snowflake is viewed as a lunatic for trying the same thing over and over without success, and night is personified as trying to see what is going on.  Some of the poems here, like the excellent and gloomy "Scribbled In The Dark," are shared with other volumes, and the poems in this collection are reprints from previously published work in other publications.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the present age and its preoccupations, the poet spends a fair amount of time reflecting on matters of sexual intimacy, as is the case with the flea who enjoys biting naked lovers in bed, but the author also dwells time on issues of damnation and salvation, a characteristic concern of his but one that is usually not phrased in a joyous or celebratory way. In reading this book it is easy to get a sense of the nature of the author's deep melancholy.  It seems as if the author would like to enjoy the simple intimacy that comes with love but cannot stop thinking about it, cannot stop being made miserable by reflections on death or time or the ravages of other beings or even the fear of being watched.  The author seems aware of larger spiritual forces at work in the world but draws no comfort from his awareness of them, instead being tormented with the feeling that he is a lost soul suffering damnation rather than enjoying the pleasant sleep of the blessed.  And it is this unhappiness, this anxiety, this lack of confidence that haunts so much of his work.  Certainly many poets, and many writers in general, are fairly tortured souls, and this author is no different.  Yet this is an author that one would wish to know peace, even if it meant that he would write less in the future, because it is not evident that the author draws any enjoyment from his anxiety, or that his anxiety springs from being a truly hardened and wicked soul, although he is clearly an unfortunate one. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frank Jude

    The Lunatic is a collection of poems published in 2015 that I finally go to during the time of Covid. Charles Simic, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other literary awards, is known for his wry melancholic tone that never falls into maudlin self-pity because he is also quite sardonically funny! This collection features mostly short, succinct poems that capture moments of human experience with incredible depth of feeling for their brevity such as found in "The Dictionary" Maybe there The Lunatic is a collection of poems published in 2015 that I finally go to during the time of Covid. Charles Simic, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other literary awards, is known for his wry melancholic tone that never falls into maudlin self-pity because he is also quite sardonically funny! This collection features mostly short, succinct poems that capture moments of human experience with incredible depth of feeling for their brevity such as found in "The Dictionary" Maybe there is a word in it somewhere To describe the world this morning, A word for the way the early light Takes delight in chasing the darkness Out of store windows and doorways. Another word for the way it lingers Over a pair of wire-rimmed glasses Someone let drop on the sidewalk Last night and staggered off blindly Talking to himself or breaking into song I'm not a poetry connoisseur and will be the first to admit that much poetry seems to go over my head. I prefer poems that are not so abstract and there are a few in this collection that I just don't get. BLACK BUTTERFLY Ghost shit of my life, Weighed down by coffins Sailing out On the evening tide. Huh? But, again, there are many more poems like "Some Late-Summer Evening" that evoke not just memories, but the very scent and feel of moments so perfectly described: When the wind off the lake Stirs the trees' memories And their dark leaves swell Against the fading daylight With an outpouring of tenderness-- Or could it be anguish? Making us all fall silent Around the picnic table, Unsure now whether to linger Over our drinks or head home. I mean, I read that poem and had to just stop and feel the experience so intimate and yet so humanly common. Who hasn't felt that sense of liminality as a good day spent with friends winds down? Finally, one of my favorites where what starts off as something that sounds and feels like it can become overly sentimental pivots into pure existentialism and a bit of Halloween horror, and then titling it "Night Music"! Little brook, running past my house, I like the tune you hum to yourself When night comes, And only the two of us are awake. You keep me company So I don't fear The darkness round my bed And the thoughts in my head Flying crookedly like bats Between the old church and the graveyard.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Williams

    Sometimes, an emotion crops up that is so complex that you don't know fully where it came from or what it's comprised of. It is so specific that you can say with 100% assurance that there cannot be a word for it. No word could do it justice. Instead, you go on pondering it, describing what it roughly resembles, paring it down by determining what it isn't, examining all those things it touches so you might at least witness the impressions it leaves behind it. For some time afterward, you'll walk Sometimes, an emotion crops up that is so complex that you don't know fully where it came from or what it's comprised of. It is so specific that you can say with 100% assurance that there cannot be a word for it. No word could do it justice. Instead, you go on pondering it, describing what it roughly resembles, paring it down by determining what it isn't, examining all those things it touches so you might at least witness the impressions it leaves behind it. For some time afterward, you'll walk around continually wondering about those feelings in the people you pass. It's awing to know that everyone else must also carry them around, frustrated at the inability to communicate ideas so unique that they each resemble a well-shuffled deck of cards. We all go on wondering, "what does it feel like to experience being this person?" Simic communicates several of these such feelings in The Lunatic. Each section is aimed at letting the reader experience one of them. With each poem in the section, he reveals some new contour on the surface of something so hopefully complex that the reader isn't quite sure what they're looking at until it's completely uncovered. We just watch while Simic unknots a mess of emotions with patient and deliberate hands. He is unmistakably deft in opening the reader up so they might be able to absorb his meaning, but his methods utterly elude me. Remove one word or comma or space, and the whole experience of his poem falls apart. But when I dig in, I am suddenly only looking at a single pock in a pointillist piece. As in my inability to describe my own emotions of this ilk, I cannot decode his language enough to see its mechanisms. So now that I've finally been in someone else's head, I replaced my curiosity of others' experiences with a new species of wondering. Clothed in gratitude that he was able to usher me into his world, even if briefly and narrowly, it is a wondering of just how the fuck he got me there.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luna

    Favorite quotes: "Our thoughts like it quiet In this no-bird dawn, Like the way the early light Takes the world as it finds it And makes no comment" "Have you introduced yourself to yourself The way a visitor at your door would? Have you found a seat in your room For every one of your wayward selves." "A word for the way the early light Takes delight in chasing the darkness" "When the wind off the lake Stirs the trees' memories Against the fading daylight With an outpouring of tenderness-- Or could it be anguis Favorite quotes: "Our thoughts like it quiet In this no-bird dawn, Like the way the early light Takes the world as it finds it And makes no comment" "Have you introduced yourself to yourself The way a visitor at your door would? Have you found a seat in your room For every one of your wayward selves." "A word for the way the early light Takes delight in chasing the darkness" "When the wind off the lake Stirs the trees' memories Against the fading daylight With an outpouring of tenderness-- Or could it be anguish?" "Little brook, running past my house, I like the tune you hum to yourself When night comes, And only the two of us are awake. You keep me company So I don't fear The darkness 'round my bed And the thoughts in my head" "The dying fires of the sunset, And the trees in my yard Putting on their black coats." "I had so much love in my heart afterward, I could have run into the street naked Confident anyone I met would understand My madness and my need to tell them About life being both cruel and beautiful" "The eyes that said to me: Everything outside this moment is a lie." "Generously donated for our use By an unknown benefactor Who made sure the sky is blue, The breeze mild and caressing"

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    Simic's verse is fun and sharp and smart. The poems of The Lunatic are funny, surreal, tender, and insightful, thinking about religion, interpersonal relationships, kindness, sadness, and more. I especially liked "The Horse," "Vices of the Evening", "Dead Telephone", "Oh, Memory", "The Stray", "Black Butterfly", "The New Widow", "What the Old Lady Told Me", and "The White Labyrinth". The poems are sardonic, like "Black Butterfly":Ghost ship of my life, Weighted down by coffins Sailing out On the eve Simic's verse is fun and sharp and smart. The poems of The Lunatic are funny, surreal, tender, and insightful, thinking about religion, interpersonal relationships, kindness, sadness, and more. I especially liked "The Horse," "Vices of the Evening", "Dead Telephone", "Oh, Memory", "The Stray", "Black Butterfly", "The New Widow", "What the Old Lady Told Me", and "The White Labyrinth". The poems are sardonic, like "Black Butterfly":Ghost ship of my life, Weighted down by coffins Sailing out On the evening tide or "The New Widow", which opens, Weren't you to be her prisoner for line In her father's woodshed once? Didn't she make you strip you shorts And cover your eyes with one hand So she could touch you with the other I love the surprise of them, like the first two lines of "The Horse", "I woke in the middle on the night to find / A horse standing quietly over my bed." The poems are all pretty short and easy to read, but they are still full of smart and interesting thoughts well-said.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Williams

    If you like things, please read yourself some Simic. If you hate things, you'll find perhaps a little respite here, but these are poems for people who E N J O Y. Perhaps they will even give you a little something to cling to when you are not in the mood for liking things. There's some sad-and-lonely in here, of course: that's life. But, that's not all life is. Sometimes it's the ludicrously morose followed up by something small and ridiculous (as with these poems: Simic will simply not allow for If you like things, please read yourself some Simic. If you hate things, you'll find perhaps a little respite here, but these are poems for people who E N J O Y. Perhaps they will even give you a little something to cling to when you are not in the mood for liking things. There's some sad-and-lonely in here, of course: that's life. But, that's not all life is. Sometimes it's the ludicrously morose followed up by something small and ridiculous (as with these poems: Simic will simply not allow for the reader to linger on something for more than its allotted time! Cry then laugh, it seems he's saying, and then maybe do it again in a little bit, but do NOT stop).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terresa

    Some good bits, but not the strongest collection. However I do appreciate Simic's brevity, clarity, eye. My favorite poem from the collection: “The Dictionary” Maybe there is a word in it somewhere to describe the world this morning, a word for the way the early light takes delight in chasing the darkness out of store windows and doorways. Another word for the way it lingers over a pair of wire-rimmed glasses someone let drop on the sidewalk last night and staggered off blindly talking to himself or breaki Some good bits, but not the strongest collection. However I do appreciate Simic's brevity, clarity, eye. My favorite poem from the collection: “The Dictionary” Maybe there is a word in it somewhere to describe the world this morning, a word for the way the early light takes delight in chasing the darkness out of store windows and doorways. Another word for the way it lingers over a pair of wire-rimmed glasses someone let drop on the sidewalk last night and staggered off blindly talking to himself or breaking into song. -Charles Simic

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

    Charlie Simic is one of my very favorite poets. Nothing fancy here, folks, just a careful observation of life around him, and making quirky connections. I love how non-academic these poems are. They remind me of William Carlos Williams, but even more thoughtful. Closer to Dickinson. Solitaries who take the time to look carefully, record accurately, and twist what they see into making monumental sense to the rest of us. Plus being fun to read, so joyful.

  22. 4 out of 5

    margaret

    went to a reading he did a couple days ago. an audience member asked him to read one of his short poems from this book again. he said he doesn't do that, and that once he went to a reading where a poet read his poem four times. when the poet offered to read it a fifth time, Simic bellowed No! from the audience. so, uh, something to keep in mind reading these? went to a reading he did a couple days ago. an audience member asked him to read one of his short poems from this book again. he said he doesn't do that, and that once he went to a reading where a poet read his poem four times. when the poet offered to read it a fifth time, Simic bellowed No! from the audience. so, uh, something to keep in mind reading these?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Haines

    less surreal than the world doesn't end. he likes to write about little adventures of light where you may read, if you so desire, the story of a ray of sunlight in the silence of the afternoon, how it found a long-lost button under some chair in the corner admittedly, yours is an odd sort of work, galactic traveler. photo was by beowulf sheehan less surreal than the world doesn't end. he likes to write about little adventures of light where you may read, if you so desire, the story of a ray of sunlight in the silence of the afternoon, how it found a long-lost button under some chair in the corner admittedly, yours is an odd sort of work, galactic traveler. photo was by beowulf sheehan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian Wasserman

    I want the poems to succeed, but overall the poems lack ambition. most of the poems are like somewhere something there is there is, true there is always something somewhere doing something but give me a reason I should read about it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Light Admittedly, yours is an odd Sort of work, galactic traveler. I watched you early this morning Get on your knees by my bed To help a pair of my old shoes Find their way out of the dark.

  26. 5 out of 5

    vi macdonald

    4.5 There's a beauty and a playfulness and gentle melancholia in these poems that has this sweet, sad, intangible quality that was really pleasant to just sit with and take in. A small but very effective collection, I sense will only grow on me more with time. 4.5 There's a beauty and a playfulness and gentle melancholia in these poems that has this sweet, sad, intangible quality that was really pleasant to just sit with and take in. A small but very effective collection, I sense will only grow on me more with time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ellie brown

    with an amusing title and cover, i wasn’t sure what to expect from this poetry collection. this expectation continued on through every page. it’s a good read, something that didn’t require a lot of thinking on my part, but there is beautifully surreal imagery throughout that i really enjoyed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    My first Simic book, and certainly not my last. I’m not sure this was the one to start with nor that it was my cup of tea, but it was a worthwhile read nonetheless. I was particularly fond of “About Myself” and “Some Late-Summer Evening”.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Enjoyed this a great deal. I should’ve marked off the poems that I really enjoyed, but unfortunately, I’ve neglected to do so. Anyways, Charles Simic is so clever it kills me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Economical and straightforward, this collection of verse can be read in one sitting. The poet's voice has a clean simplicity that is coupled with an authentic tone. Economical and straightforward, this collection of verse can be read in one sitting. The poet's voice has a clean simplicity that is coupled with an authentic tone.

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