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The Monster Loves His Labyrinth Paperback – 1 Sep 2008
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"Simic's is a unique and necessary voice in American poetry, one that concisely articulates a profound aversion to simplistic answers and bland comforts."-Booklist "A master of the absurd and the unexpected, Simic ( Unending Blues ) presents a collection of prose poems that will not fail to amuse and delight."-Publishers Weekly "Simic's work, mingling Rimbaud and Socrates, startles us into meditation."-Library Journal
About the Author
Born in Yugoslavia in 1938, Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of NH, Charles Simic won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry in 1996 In 2007 he was appointed Poet Laureate and received the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.
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James Cox, Author of Hiding Behind the Elephant's Smile: Prose Poems and Poetic Prose
* I explained by accent to a doctor by telling him that I was raided by a family of deaf-mutes.
* I'm a member of that minority which refuses to be part of any officially designated minority.
* Birds sing to remind us that we have a soul.
* All my life I strove to make a small truth out of an infinity of errors.
* Cioran writes "God is afraid of man . . . . Man in a monster, and history has proved it.",
* How do you know the other? By being madly in Love.
* A poem is an invitation to a voyage. As in life we travel to see fresh sights.
* In a zoo, I noticed many animals who had a fleeting resemblance to me.
* Faulkner somewhere defined poetry as the whole history of the human heart on a head of a pin.
* Insomnia. A lifelong dereliction of duty. A form of rebellion against the whole of eternity. A spit in its eye, as it were.
There are many striking images, as when Simic compares the moon to the rear-end of a young bride, or Utopia to a chocolate cake under a glass bell. But the few good points do not lead this reader to condone the gross caricatures, the adolescent "rebellion," the aggressively skeptical vituperation.
Simic briefly stirs our sympathy when he says that the unexpected kindness of one human being to another during times of mass violence is worth more than any and all churchy preachment. He's not far from St Paul, he might be surprised to learn, when the apostle writes, "If I speak with the tongues of angels and have not charity, I am nothing." But in the very next breath, he squelches our sympathy by describing a priest being callous to "a homeless woman" (apparently, Simic didn't get her name), as if this episode were somehow representative of all clergy, at all times, everywhere.
We praise Simic's imagination, such as it is, but must withhold praise from the snark and the hackneyed tropes more characteristic of adolescence than of age. I would recommend this book only to the most ardent devotees of Simic's verse.