Hotel Insomnia and Dime Store Alchemy

Hotel Insomnia by Charles Simic

These poems juxtapose grand proclamations about eternity, the divine, and immortality with lines like, "It doesn't matter."  With earthy reminders like this and an incremental, almost stealthy, building of complexity from line to line we are transported to understanding. In poems like "Clouds Gathering," we understand the wordless woe at the heart of domesticity, and in "Evening Walk," we see the odd way that memory and allusion fuels our waking life of the concrete and visible. Simic is also a master of ordinary lists of observable things like "very good olives," and great at evoking a whole world with one perfectly placed word like, "Sicily." I loved these poems of the grand and the ordinary.

Dime Store Alchemy by Charles Simic

This book is about the art of Joseph Cornell. Simic pays tribute to him, emulates him, is inspired by him,  and offers his appreciation as well as showing us how artists are moved by one another. The poems here are evidence of Simic's inheritance and the power of influence.


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