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Release: Aug 27, 1999

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic reads at UI Sept. 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic, professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, will read from his work at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the University of Iowa Main Library. Sponsored by the UI International Writing Program and the Writers' Workshop, the reading is free and open to the public.

Simic, who was born in Yugoslavia, immigrated to the United States in 1953 at the age of 16 to join his father in Chicago. He published his first poems in 1959 at the age of 21.

Following service in the U.S. Army, he attended night school at New York University and earned his bachelor's degree in 1966. His first full-length collection of poems, "What the Grass Says," was published the following year.

Since then, Simic has published more than 60 books in the United States and abroad, including "Walking the Black Cat" (Harcourt Brace, 1996), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; "A Wedding in Hell" (1994); "Hotel Insomnia" (1992); "The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems" (1990), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; "Selected Poems: 1963-1983" (1990); and "Unending Blues" (1986).

When asked in a recent interview with J.M. Spalding of the Cortland Review about when he felt what Pound called "the impulse" to write, Simic replied, "When I noticed in high school that one of my friends was attracting the best-looking girls by writing them sappy love poems."

Of his most recent book, "Jackstraws" (Harcourt Brace, 1999), New York Times Book Review critic wrote, "Simic snatches profundities from the air around him, like so many flies to some wanton boy."