h's Reviews > The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems

The Voice at 3 by Charles Simic
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's review
Jan 31, 08

bookshelves: library, poetry, 2008
Read in January, 2008

i wanted to like these poems more than i did. i knew simic more for his translation work than his own, and the poems in this collection didn't quite do it for me. i didn't dislike any, and liked some, such as "The Lives of the Alchemists" and "Late September" and "My Father Attributed Immortality to Waiters." his palette just isn't to my taste: the christian images seem flat and something about the use and use and reuse of figures of the homeless and of beggars strikes me as more touristy than genuine. i don't get a sense of what these peoples lives are like, they're just scenery, shorthand. taken individually, many of his lines seemed hum-drum, which maybe is deliberate, but i needed something to galvanize me. i might get more out of his work after several readings, but a first go-through was only so-so for me.

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