Field

Articles from No. 99, Fall

Authorized
That stark word authorized arrested me first. Are you authorized to speak... ? Who's the you? It doesn't sound much like Simic, an author who has surely been "authorized." Over half a century, his poetry has earned him the academy's stamp of approval,...
Before Us
There is a mauve, photographic bowl of rain-though some would say a cupA sultry plague before the fandango of alleysAn armament / arm / armband tossed into the gray / the grim Corvetteat the rehearsalof velour and anise / ankle / ankletA muzzle of parched...
Bent as I Was, Intently
Just to be clear: I straight out love Simic's poems; they turn and rewind, then: look! And how skewed but normal (really?) his stuff seems, fated and hopeless and ancient and new. Of course it's a spell, of sorts, and that's joy, his surprise, his grounded...
Charles Simic: A Field Symposium
As this journal of contemporary poetry and poetics enters its 50th and final year, with issues 99 and 100, some retrospection is inevitable. Fifty years is a long time to maintain a "contemporary" emphasis, and one thing that has kept us going, all this...
Concerning My Neighbors, the Hittites
Great are the Hittites.Their ears have mice and mice have holes.Their dogs bury themselves and leave the bonesTo guard the house. A single weed holds all their stormsUntil the spiderwebs spread over the heavens.There are bits of straw in their lakes...
Enough
I got here through no talent of my own.I did not birth myself, or even will myselfinto being. One day I was a cluster of cells,one day I was a heart, one day I wasa human in the world. Now what? Lookat the luck I was given, born into a placewith a hot...
Evidence of the Making Process
At night my computer screentries to imagine my brainon its way to sleep,turns the color of a polluted sky:washed in coffee,wrung out. Barely visible degreebetween dusk and nightfall, betweencause and correlation,sleep and medicated sleep, originaland...
Inordinate Fondness
for Marcus ByrneBetween that disgust and this...One feels the purifying change.-Wallace StevensThe celestial navigation of the dung beetlein a six-legged scrabble-dance astraddle his sphereof horse manure(300 degrees around to seal the Milky Wayas a...
In the City of Discreet Adventures
"St. Thomas Aquinas" is my favorite poem in my favorite Simic book, The Book of Gods and Devils. The poem is so deceptively casual, loping along at a picaresque pace, a seemingly autobiographical tour of the poet's early days in New York. All that detail,...
Justice and Mercy
O bad dream of email announcing straightawayanother dream: do not open this.I stayed back for a day thinkingit fell across the screen like a veil.Because there is neither mercy nor justice,my friend's cells go haywire in the pancreassweeping the room...
Metamorphosis
he pounds his wing on the groundI'm a carrier pigeon he saysI'm a carrier pigeon he repeats louderdoes he want to scare me or whatluckily I have a fresh roll in my bagI'll bribe him if I have toI fix my tie it's better to be politea glass of water orders...
New This Season
This season it's Hula Daddy Kona,I'm pulling apart my ribs to make some space,slathering on a new cream, everybody says the soreness is going todisappear completely.I'm thinking about some things I didn't even know about before,like Sumatra peaberry...
On Paradox and Beauty
It may be important to remember, as one critically considers this poem by Charles Simic, that it appears in a book of prose poems which was awarded, much to the chagrin of the neo-formalists of the day, some of whom even spoke out in protest at the time,...
Satellites
I see at last that if I don't breathe, I breathe.-pupil to F. M. AlexanderWhen the actor's voice retreated, he stood before the mirrornoting birdlike minutiae of his head and neck:before opening his mouth to recite whether tis noblerin the mind, the...
St. Thomas Aquinas
I left parts of myself everywhereThe way absent-minded people leaveGloves and umbrellasWhose colors are sad from dispensing so much bad luck.I was on a park bench asleep.It was like the Art of Ancient Egypt.I didn't wish to bestir myself.I made my long...
The History of My Blood
Sometimes I feel I'm one step away,that it would be just that easy or close,and I can't decide if it's a step toward or a step away from,or if this means I'm lost or on tour.Like how I feel watching visualizations of the universe.From this speck out...
The Hittites Are Coming!
"Poetry has been around forever," Charles Simic once observed. "It predates literacy and perhaps even the gods, who, some say, were invented by poets." Though he is no philosopher by training you might well say that he worries about origins and meaning...
The Invisible
Don't the shadows know something about it?The way they come and goAs if paying a visit to that other worldWhere they do what they doBefore hurrying back to us.Just today I was admiring the one I castAs I walked alone in the streetAnd was about to engage...
Two Gods in Aspic
There are these two gods, Lefty and Sangria.They've been at it for years, and now it's early summeror late spring, herbs already starting to poke through,trees suddenly everywhere. I'm still not sure preciselythe complaint they have against each other.Something...
Unfolding "Winter Fly"
Scribbled in the Dark: Poems is only Simic's latest collection, published in 2017, but I could have opened the book at random and alighted on just about any poem to explicate (from Latin explicat, "unfolded") and to praise, so small and dense they are,...
You, Too
Can we talk? Charles Simic is always up for conversation. Even when there's no one actually there to talk to he's game. Shadows will do. Spectres out of the past. Gods or goddesses. Even people tempt him. Nameless or familiar. Look around, Simic suggests,...
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