Simic was hilarious! Approachable, with a self-deprecating humility, his work is grounded in his experience, but heightened by his masterful command of language and image. A few gems from the interview/discussion:
- Simic on writing poetry over a 50+ year career: "The nice thing about poems is that you have no memory of how they were written."
- Simic on confessional poetry: "If a poet is a good liar, I think that's fine."
- Simic talked about how important revision was in his work, about how he can write 4-5 pages and end up with a five line poem.
- He also talked a lot about translation, and about how there are a few works he would love to go back and re-translate, because the more time he spends with a piece, the more things he discovers in the writing and meaning.
All in all, a great evening. I discovered the work of a supremely talented poet and got to meet Obreht, who is unbelievably talented for being so young.
Some of Simic's work: