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Poetry Breaks for Schools and Libraries: Charles Simic

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Charles Simic introduces and reads his poems. Interspersed with the poems are questions that people might typically ask a poet. The following is a list of the poems and questions (questions are preceded by a "Q"):
Q: Do you consider yourself an American poet?
"Cameo Appearance"
Q: What is it like to be a poet?
"My mother was..."
"I was stolen..."
"We were so poor..."
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
Q: How do you write?
"What the Gypsies Told My Grandmother while She Was Still a Young Girl"
"He had mixed up the characters..."
"Once I knew, then I forgot..."
Q: How do you begin a poem?
Q: Do you show your work to anyone?
"Little Unwritten Book"
"Miracle Glass Co."
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a poet?
"Mirrors at 4 A.M."
"The Clock of the Dead"
Q: What is poetry?

Charles Simic was born in Yugoslavia in 1938. His previous volumes of poetry include Kerns Cosmology (1977), nominated for the National Book Award, and ,i>Classic Ballroom Dances (1980), which won the 1980 di Castagnola Award and the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award. Walking the Black Cat (1996) was nominated for the National Book Award. Charles Simic has received the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the PEN Translation Prize, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1983 he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In 1990 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The World Doesn't End. Simic is also known for his work as an essayist and as a translator. He has taught writing at the University of New Hampshire since 1974.

The University of New Hampshire's Special Collections houses a collection of Charles Simic's personal papers. A description of these materials is available at

Produced and directed by Leita Hagemann Luchetti.

"Poetry Breaks," conceived by Leita Hagemann Luchetti and co-produced by Luchetti and WGBH New Television Workshop, is an ongoing series of over 100 thirty-second to four-minute spots presenting internationally known poets reading their work on location. These have aired individually on WGBH and public television stations across the country. The Workshop collaborated with Luchetti until its closing in 1993, at which point the works became co-productions of Luchetti and the larger WGBH Foundation.

"Poetry Breaks II," produced from 1991-1994, began airing on WGBH-TV in 1994, and was also broadcast by dozens of other public television stations throughout the country starting in 1994. Between 1995 and 1997, three new poets were taped for Poetry Breaks III.
Oral interpretation of poetry, Poetry, Poetry reading, Writing
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