NH Gives Us Another Poet Laureate!

Since leaving my home state, I've become something of a New Hampshire chauvinist. So it gives me great pleasure to see that the new U.S. poet laureate is Charles Simic, who has taught for many years at my own undergraduate alma mater, the University of New Hampshire (yes, I was at NYU longer, but UNH is the place that gave me a diploma, so I've got some loyalty to them). Last year, New Hampshire's Donald Hall was the poet laureate, and now it's Simic (who is, I must admit, a poet far closer to my tastes than Hall, but I have tremendous respect for Hall's work as an editor and promoter of poetry, and he's absolutely wonderful as a reader of his, or anybody's, work).

Selections of Simic's work are available online at the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation websites. I highly recommend his Selected Early Poems, the prose poems in The World Doesn't End, all of his essays and memoirs, and his book about our beloved Joseph Cornell, Dime-Store Alchemy.

It's only appropriate to end with a poem:
by Charles Simic

This strange thing must have crept
Right out of hell.
It resembles a bird’s foot
Worn around the cannibal’s neck.

As you hold it in your hand,
As you stab with it into a piece of meat,
It is possible to imagine the rest of the bird:
Its head which like your fist
Is large, bald, beakless, and blind.