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In addition to serving as poet laureate, he has won many prizes and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize and the Wallace Stevens Award. That turns out to be untrue. I actually found his work to be curiously uplifting.

Night Picnic: Poems

What impresses me about his poetry is his close attention to the world, the precision of his details, and the concision of his lines. Each poem feels finished, in a way many poems I read do not.

Each word is there for a reason, and sometimes more than one. Most of his poems are fairly short, often presenting a fairly ordinary scene before inviting us to explore it, turning it over in our hands, letting the resonances build. The plastic statue of the Virgin On top of a bedroom dresser With a blackened mirror From a bad-dream grooming salon.

Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star, A small, grinning windup monkey, A bronze Egyptian coin And a red movie-ticket stub.


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A splotch of sunlight on the framed Communion photograph of a boy With the eyes of someone Who will drown in a lake real soon. An altar dignifying the god of chance. What is beautiful, it cautions, Is found accidentally and not sought after.

What is beautiful is easily lost. We see a seemingly random collection of items on a dresser, imbued with humor. Yet there is foreshadowing here: the blackened mirror, the bad dream, the grave, the punched ticket.

Night Picnic: Poems Simic, Charles , Monroe Street Books Store

So we are surprised, but not completely, by the sudden turn at the end of the second stanza. What is beautiful is easily lost.


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    Charles Simic

    Create a List. Night Picnic: Poems by Charles Simic. Summary The poems in Charles Simic's new collection evoke a variety of settings and images, from New York City to small New England towns; from crowds spilling onto the sidewalk on a hot summer night to an abandoned wooden church and a car graveyard overgrown with weeds.

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