Simic Awarded International Poetry Festival’s Golden Wreath

photo of Charles Simic

Charles Simic, professor emeritus of English, has been named the 2017 Golden Wreath award winner of Struga Poetry Evenings.

Struga Poetry Evenings is an international poetry festival held every August in Struga, Macedonia since 1962. Over 5,000 poets, book reviewers, theoreticians, publishers and literature promoters from over 100 countries and all continents have taken part in the festival since its inception. During the event, the Golden Wreath award is given to an outstanding poet for her or his body of work.

The managing board of Struga Poetry Evenings chose Simic’s work for its “original poetic voice that through a surrealistic experience, gradually evolves as a distinctive observer of the modern, with strong moral and philosophical questions; extremely clear, serious but fun at the same time. This award values his outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry, which is a passionate and lucid testimony of modern time, intriguing, provocative, shocking, meditative, full of insights of ironic humor.”

“I was delighted to hear that I’m to be awarded The Golden Wreath Award…,” said Simic, as reported in Versopolis, a European publication that reviews poetry, books and culture. “A number of past winners were my friends and I know how deeply honored they were to receive this award and so am I today. The list of your past recipients is so distinguished that I don’t know of another poetry prize anywhere in the world that can equal it. I have fond memories of Struga Poetry Evenings in 1972 and my visit to Skopje afterwards and on another occasion in 1982. I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. Thank you all.”

Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. His work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. He has published over twenty books of his own poetry, seven books of essays, a memoir, and numerous books of translations of French, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovenian poetry. Simic, who was born in Yugoslavia and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, taught English and creative writing for over thirty years at the University of New Hampshire.

The Golden Wreath award will be presented to Simic at this year’s festival, to be held August 23-28, 2017.

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