Charles Simic


Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he had a traumatic childhood during World War II. In 1954 he emigrated from Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. They lived in and around Chicago until 1958. In 1961 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and, in 1966, he earned his bachelor’s degree from New York University while working at night to cover the costs of tuition. Simic’s first poems were published in 1959, when he was twenty-one years old. His first full-length collection, What the Grass Says (Kayak Press, 1960), was published the following year. Since then, Simic has published more than sixty books in the United States and abroad, twenty titles of his own poetry among them, including The Lunatic (Ecco, 2015); New and Selected Poems: 1962–2012 (Harcourt, 2013); Master of Disguises (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010); That Little Something (Harcourt, 2008); My Noiseless Entourage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005); Selected Poems: 1963–2003 (Faber and Faber, 2004), for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize; The Voice at 3:00 AM: Selected Late and New Poems (Harcourt, 2003); Night Picnic (Harcourt, 2001); Jackstraws (Harcourt, 1999), which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times; and The Book of Gods and Devils (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990). Simic was a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, where he had taught since 1973. Charles Simic died in Dover, New Hampshire, on January 9, 2023. Source


Fear passes from man to man


As one leaf passes its shudder

To another.


All at once the whole tree is trembling,


And there is no sign of the wind.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Doubt & Fear

Literary Devices:


a situation that seems to contradict itself


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”