Charles Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1938. He left Yugoslavia in 1953 with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States, where they lived in and around Chicago until 1958. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was twenty-one. In 1961 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 he earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year.
Since then he has published more than sixty books in the U.S. and abroad, among them My Noiseless Entourage (2005); The Voice at 3 A.M (2003); Night Picnic (2001); Jackstraws (1999) (named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times); Walking the Black Cat (1996), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; A Wedding in Hell (1994); Hotel Insomnia (1992); The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Selected Poems: 1963-1983 (1990); and Unending Blues (1986), all published by Harcourt Brace.
He has also published many translations of French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian poetry, and six books of essays, most recently Memory Piano (2006), for the University of Michigan Press. He was also the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 1992. He writes regularly for both the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books.
Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States in 2007. Since 1973 he has lived in New Hampshire, where he is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire.
The collection, which is restricted, includes correspondence, notebooks, manuscripts, translations, magazine articles, and recordings.