Simic highlight of book festival

BURLINGTON Inside my empty bottle, writes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic, I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships. Simics poetry is a lighthouse. Fellow poet Katha Pollitt describes him as our great poet of the mystery and otherness hidden in ordinary things. Using luminous language, Simic beautifully reveals the tragedy and comedy of everyday life. Born in Belgrade in 1938, he grew up during World War II and learned to handle the hazards of war with humor. Germans and the Allies took turns dropping bombs on my head while I played with my collection of lead soldiers on the floor, he told the Cortland Review in 1998. I would go boom, boom, and then they would go boom, boom. One of his recent poems, To The Reader, comically and characteristically echoes those ominous sounds from his childhood: Dont you hear me/Bang my head/Against your wall?/ Of course you do/So how come/You dont answer me?/ Bang your head/On your side of the wall/And keep me company. Charles Simic will bring his radiance and resonance to the 4th annual Burlington Book Festival Sept. 12 at 8 pm. Dedicated to Vermont poet and professor David Huddle, the Festival will take place in a variety of downtown Burlington venues throughout the Sept. 12-14 weekend. There will be readings, signings, panels, workshops, demos, musical performances, family activities, and special events. Some other literary luminaries who will be there are Mary Jo Bang, Philip Baruth, Harry Bliss, Tim Brookes, Ann Hood, David Huddle (of course), Major Jackson, Galway Kinnell, Alistair MacLeod, Archer Mayor, Jay Parini, and Katherine Paterson. Virtually all events will be free of charge. For further Festival information, go to www.burlingtonbookfestival.com or call 802-658-3328. If youre unfamiliar with Charles Simics writing and want to prepare for the Festival, check out The World Doesnt End or Sixty Poems. The former is the volume that won him the 1990 Pulitzer Prize. The latter is a fine collection of some of his best known poems published to celebrate his appointment as 15th Poet Laureate of the United States last year. His most recent poetry collection is That Little Something. Also, Youtube.com serves up a flavorful, 3-part, musical version of Simics The Soup performed by the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble. Its a delicious first course to a Simic feast.

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