by Charles Simic
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
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 Thursday.
Mr. Simic taught at the University of New Hampshire for 34 years before moving to emeritus status. He won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1990 for his book of prose poems, “The World Doesn’t End.” He also is an essayist, translator, editor and professor emeritus of creative writing and literature.
Mr. Simic was born in Yugoslavia in 1938, and his childhood was disrupted by World War II. He moved to Paris with his mother when he was 15 and joined his father in New York a year later, in 1954. He has been a U.S. citizen for 36 years. “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15,” he said.
Later on Thursday, Simic received another honor, the 14th annual Wallace Stevens Award, a $100,000 prize from the Academy of American Poets for “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.”
[via The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.)]