The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports that Charles Simic is to be named the countryâ€™s 15th poet laureate by the Librarian of Congress today. He succeeds Donald Hall, a fellow New Englander, who has been poet laureate for the past year. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Simic, a native of Yugoslavia, emigrated to the US at the age of sixteen and started writing poetry in English only a few years after learning the language. He has published more than 20 volumes of poetry, as well as essay collections, translations and a memoir.
James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will announce Simic’s appointment. Billington said he chose Simic from a short list of 15 poets because of “the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry,” adding: “He’s very hard to describe, and that’s a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears.”