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Jackstraws (Faber Poetry) [Paperback]

Charles Simic

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Book Description

4 Sep 2000 Faber Poetry
Simic's poems are like self-developing polaroids, in which a scene, gradually assembling itself out of unexplained images, suddenly clicks into a recognisable whole. Because of his wartime youth, Simic's mind is stocked with precise images of the fearful, the incomprehensible and the fragmented. Two motives - the search for explanation, knowing there is none and the finding of plots or images to match the burden of feeling - have always driven his poems. The results in Jackstraws are as brutal and featherlight as they have ever been.

Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New edition edition (4 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571204333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571204335
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,545,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and emigrated to the United States in 1954. His first collection was published in 1971, and in the three decades that have followed he has received numerous awards and honours for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN International Award for translation. Since 1973, Simic has taught English at the University of New Hampshire.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine stuff. 28 Jun 2004
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Charles Simic, Jackstraws (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1999)
I've written so many glowing words about Charles Simic in the past year that anything more would really be superfluous (cf. reviews of The World Doesn't End, Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk, Classic Ballroom Dances, Charon's Cosmology, etc. etc.). All I can really say about Jackstraws is "another worthy entry in the corpus of Mr. Simic, which is already stacked full of quality material." Every new book from Charles Simic is an unalloyed pleasure to read, full of little unexpected pleasures and twists of phrase that cannot help but delight the reader. If you're not familiar with the work of Mr. Simic, I cannot but urge you to become so at your earliest opportunity; the man should be a living legend. As it is, he's just another poet trying to eke out a living, and that's a crime. ****
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very DEEP 22 Feb 2002
By Timothy Cade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My favorite poem is Vacant Rooms and I'm using it for my poetry memorization project this spring in my Intro to Poetry class. I am impressed by the depth, which Simic uses so easily and bluntly. Upon first readings of these poems it may seem that is simply what the title states, but when you think about it slowly and read each line and visualize the concepts and connect each image with the next, it opens the flood gates for the imagination to wonder and get lost in a thousand interpretations that bring enjoyment and fun to the poem. Even if the poem is sad, it is an excellent feeling to comprehend the power behind the words.
It truly is a beautiful collection, I only hope that one day I can write as good as him and create that depth behind the words to make them stand out among the rest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jackstraws 24 Dec 2010
By J. Westwind - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm no expert on poetry and admit to not totally understanding a few of the references Simic makes in Jackstraws, but I thoroughly enjoyed his poems and intend to reread and research them until I do grasp the deeper meaning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars modernism of careful experimentation 19 May 2002
By "hirofantv" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Charles Simic's surreal writing is fun, humorous, intellectually interesting, but still menacing. Each poem is like a cage with a rabid guinea pig inside, & you can't stop yourself from reaching in & petting it.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still going strong 8 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For the first time my friend Charlie is beginning to get a few negative reviews. I'm here to dispell the rumors that he has lost his touch. This book, as well as his last, Walking the Black Cat, is evidence that he is still one of the best. The main contention has been that the typical Simic surprises are no longer surprising, that he has repeated himself one too many times. There isn't a single poet who isn't guilty of this poetic crime, and there are times that Charlie does come very close to sounding like the Charlie of old. Yet I still think the ultimate judgement comes not in a comparative judgement of a poem or group of poems against the entire body of work (though it is useful to do so), but whether single poems stand on their own. This is, of course, hard to do given the poet's intentions to group poems into the volumes that he/she makes available to the public--we can only judge by what we are given. But poems like "Live at Club Revolution" are fresh because of the odd combination of images Charlie is known for. The address is similar, the reference to a nightclub as a setting for an historical event is also something we've come across in Charlie's poems before. But once the poem begins it bears little to no resemblance to any other. And this is interesting to note considering that once, quite a few years ago, Charlie wrote another poem with the title "Jackstraws," which bears no resemblance to the title poem of this volume. Yet the game itself the title comes from illustrates a thematic interest that is ongoing; that one stumbles upon a scene of such quiet and danger--whether the danger of upsetting a pile of sticks delicately placed on a table in a game much like Jenga, or the real danger of those war scenes Charlie has become so famous for remembering--is something that must be visited over and over, yet never without some kind of subversion. To deceive oneself into a feeling of safety, joy, fear--this is the aim of his language.
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