Charles Simic (born Dušan Simić) was a Serbian-American poet, essayist, and translator. His The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990. He also was the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States.
Charles Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he had a traumatic childhood during World War II. He immigrated to the United States in 1953. “My travel agents were Hitler and Stalin.” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet said later.
In 1961 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966, he earned his degree from New York University, where Simic was mentored by the poet and critic Mark Strand.
In 1964, Simic married the fashion designer Helene Dubin, with whom he had two children.
Simic’s first poems were published in 1959 when he was 21. His first book, What the Grass Says, came out in 1967. He followed with Somewhere Among Us a Stone is Taking Notes (1969) and Dismantling the Silence (1971) and was soon averaging a book a year.
Charles Simic became an American citizen in 1971. Two years later, he joined the University of New Hampshire.
Simic was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, and in 1987 for Unending Blues. His most notable books also included The World Doesn’t End, winner of the Pulitzer in 1990, Walking the Black Cat, a National Book Award finalist in 1996, and such recent collections as The Lunatic (2015) and Scribbled in the Dark (2017).
Charles Simic is the 2007 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. This $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in poetry.
Charles Simic taught English and creative writing for over 30 years at the University of New Hampshire. He was fluent in several languages and translated the works of other poets from French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian.
Charles Simic died at age 84.