Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953 he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States where the family settled near Chicago. Simic's first poems were published in 1959. His first full-length collection of poems, "What the Grass Says," was published in 1967.
Since then Simic has published more than sixty books in the U.S. and abroad, among them "Jackstraws" (1999), which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, "Walking the Black Cat" (1996), a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry and "The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems" (1990), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Simic has also translated numerous volumes of French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian poetry, and four books of essays, most recently "Orphan Factory" (1998). His many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Hear Charles Simic read his poem "We were so poor..." taken from the collection "In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry" (courtesy of Rhino Entertainment.)