Master of Disguises by Charles Simic

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Synopsis

In his first volume of poetry since his tenure as poet laureate, Charles Simic shows he is at the height of his poetic powers. These new poems mine the rich strain of inscrutability in ordinary life, until it is hard to know what is innocent and what ominous. There is something about his work that continues to be crystal clear and yet deeply weighted with violence and mystery. Reading it is like going undercover. The face of a girl carrying a white dress from the cleaners with her eyes half-closed. The Adam & Evie Tanning Salon at night. A sparrow on crutches. A rubber duck in a shooting gallery on a Sunday morning. And someone in a tree swing, too old to be swinging and to be wearing no clothes at all, blowing a toy trumpet at the sky.

 

About Charles Simic

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CHARLES SIMIC was born in Belgrade and emigrated to the United States in 1954. He is the author of many books of poetry and prose. Among other honors, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 and served as the Poet Laureate of the United States in 2007-2008.
 
Published October 6, 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 101 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Master of Disguises

Publishers Weekly

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Like most of Simic's work, these new poems end up short and sad, setting mysterious, wry, even Kafkaesque, scenes in which nobody gets what anyone wants: "A dark little country store full of gravediggers' children buying candy./ (That's how we looked that night.)" Simic served as laureate in the ...

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New York Journal of Books

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In 2007 Simic received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets in recognition of his outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry and was selected to be the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, succeeding Donald Hall.

Oct 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Master of Disguises

New York Journal of Books

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The fourth section in this collection is one long poem in eleven parts titled “The Invisible.” It’s quite an achievement as a sustained-coherent piece.

Oct 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Master of Disguises

The Kenyon Review

The poem continues its catalog of important events as “people worried the world was about to end,” but all the infant knows is his mother as she uncovers her concealed breast: “I watched my mother / Take a breast out of her blue robe and come closer.” Later in the poem, “A fish believed to have b...

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