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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In this new collection of sixty-two poems Charles Simic paints exquisite and shattering word pictures that lend meaning to a chaotic world populated by insects, bridal veils, pallbearers, TV sets, parrots, and a finely detailed dragonfly. Suffused with hope yet unafraid to mock his own credulity, Simic's searing metaphors unite the solemn with the absurd. His raindrops lis...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1999)
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Simic uses point-of-view, humor and personification in this collection to again and again point out how small each of our existences is in the scheme of the universe. He also satirizes religions’ attempts at reconciling this gap in human logic by repeatedly addressing the “ceiling” as if it were a god. By combining all of this, Simic is able to craft a book of seemingly lighter pieces that delve deep into a core human issue. The only time this fails is with the ambitious eight-page piece “Talki...more
Robert Beveridge
Charles Simic, Jackstraws (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1999)

I've written so many glowing words about Charles Simic in the past year that anything more would really be superfluous (cf. reviews of The World Doesn't End, Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk, Classic Ballroom Dances, Charon's Cosmology, etc. etc.). All I can really say about Jackstraws is "another worthy entry in the corpus of Mr. Simic, which is already stacked full of quality material." Every new book from Charles Simic is an u...more
Surrealist poetry is not always easy for me to read. The comments on the back of the books helped me a lot in knowing how to read these poems. So I copy part of said comments here for people who may have a different edition.

"The poems are like self-developing polaroids, in which a scene, gradually assembling itself out of unexplained images, suddenly clicks into a recognizable whole . . . Two motives -- the search for explanation, knowing there is none; and the finding of plots or images to matc...more
I didn't have a lot of exposure to Simic before. His poetry has a jocular, ironic tone, and he likes to make absurd-like comparisons. He is interested in big questions, but not in a systematic way. At least in this collection he is more comfortable in the aphoristic mode than in the didactic. All in all, I'd say he is an interesting, solid poet. I'll probably seek out some of his other works.
Olivier Lepetit
Utter gibberish - I try, I promise you, I try to 'get' into this kind of poetry - but this looks to me like automatic, improvised writing, the kind of stuff that ANYONE can come up with with a few drinks and a propensity to be able to write whatever comes to your head at that precise moment.
Feb 01, 2010 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Charming poems, Simic's use of language is very clever and expressive.

One example that struck me, from Mystic Life the last poem in the collection, was:

'Chewing on the bitter verb
"To be."'
Read while at the shore with my family - my brother's book which he let me borrow. The last poem makes this entire book worthwhile.
Jun 06, 2007 Tina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
The first two sections were kind of overly silly and difficult, but the third is kind of a magical blending of the serious and the absurd.
I've had much less exposure to Simic than one would think, but I wasn't blown away by this one. Lesser Simic perhaps?
I lie with my eyes tightly shut
Dreaming of a world
Beyond these sad appearances.

-Charles Simic, Jackstraws
totally bizarre as is usual with Charles Simic. very entertaining through out.
Anothe excellent collection of poems
Not my favorite, but still love it.
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Charles Simic (born Dušan Simić) is a Serbian-American poet and the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States. He is co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. Simic is the 2007 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. This $100,000 (US) prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.
More about Charles Simic...
The World Doesn't End The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems Walking the Black Cat Hotel Insomnia Sixty Poems

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