Simic Awarded International Poetry Festival’s Golden Wreath

April 25, 2017

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.

NH Humanities Council Honors Three COLA Faculty

May 11, 2015

The New Hampshire Humanities Council recently announced its list of “40 Over 40,” 40 New Hampshire residents who have made a significant impact on New Hampshire culture over the past 40 years. The list includes writers, filmmakers, teachers, volunteers, civic leaders, philanthropists, and scholars. Three UNH College of Liberal Arts faculty members are among the 40: Bruce Mallory, professor of education; Judith Moyer, research assistant professor emerita of history; and Charles Simic, professor emeritus of English. According to information from the Humanities Council, the 40 “have vastly enriched our human understanding…[their] original works and passion for excellence have put NH on the cultural map.” Other notable honorees are Supreme Court Justice David Souter, filmmaker Ken Burns, poet Donald Hall, and journalist Laura Knoy.

The 40 will be honored at a gala event on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Grappone Center in Concord. Tickets are $75 per person and support the Council’s work of connecting people with ideas. Purchase tickets here.

Learn more.

A COLA Homecoming

October 16, 2013
The guests of honor, Charles Simic (left) and John Angelopoulos (right)

The guests of honor, Charles Simic (left) and John Angelopoulos (right)

The College of Liberal Arts kicked off its Homecoming celebration over the weekend with a Dean’s Reception featuring the poetry of Charles Simic and the paintings of John Angelopoulos. The Special Collections room of the Dimond Library was packed with alumni, faculty, students, administrators, staff, and community members.

Attendees view Angelopoulos's paintings. Simic's poems are mounted below each painting.

Attendees view John Angelopoulos’s paintings. Charles Simic’s poems are mounted below each painting.

Angelopoulos is a Portsmouth-based painter who, upon reading Simic’s poetry, said he “saw” the poems and could relate to their darkness and humor. He was inspired to paint what he saw. The show on Friday consisted of 12 of Angelopoulos’s oil paintings, accompanied by the text of the poems on which they were based. Simic read six of the poems.

The audience rapt as Simic reads his poetry.

The audience rapt as Charles Simic reads his poetry.

Simic is professor emeritus of English at UNH but still teaches poetry in the M.F.A. in Writing program. He is considered one of the most prominent poets writing today and has won a number of major literary prizes and honors, among them the Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Robert Frost Medal, and the Vilcek Prize in Literature. He was appointed as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2007.

left to right: Mr. John Angelopoulos, Provost Lisa MacFarlane, Dean Kenneth Fuld, and Professor Charles Simic.

left to right: John Angelopoulos; Lisa MacFarlane, Provost; Kenneth Fuld, Dean; and Charles Simic

Bestiary for the five fingers of my right hand: new UNH composition features poetry of Charles Simic

February 17, 2012

right hand

The annual UNH faculty composers concert takes place tonight at 8:00 p.m. in the Bratton Recital Hall of the Paul Creative Arts Center. Several UNH faculty will be presenting their works, including Michael Annicchiarico, Peter Urquhart, Lori Dobbins, Ryan Vigil, and Rob Haskins with Dionisis Boukouvalas.

A unique collaboration this year involves new compositions by Christopher Kies in which he sets the text of two poems by Charles Simic. UNH Professor Emeritus Simic is a former US Poet Laureate and a world-renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.  The poems featured will be “Dismantling the Silence” and “Bestiary for the Five Fingers of My Right Hand.”

The composition featuring “Bestiary…”  is a five movement piece for piano, bass, drum set, and narrator. The poem is written in five segments, each devoted to one of the five fingers of the human right hand. Kies will play piano, UNH Professor David Ripley will provide the narration, UNH resident artist John Hunter will play bass, and UNH student Brett Gallo will play drums.

When considering the text of “Bestiary…,” Kies says, “I’ve long wanted to try to capture some of his [Simic’s] brilliantly expressed ‘finger personalities’ in some kind of musical illustration. My problem has always been that I arbitrarily thought the individual pieces could only use one finger to play the notes, but when it occurred to me that the left hand could help out, then it became easy. So each movement will feature the entire left hand plus only one particular finger of the right hand in a kind of strange duet.”

The concert is free and open to the public.  For more information, call the UNH Department of Music at 603-862-2404.

NH Literary Awards go to UNH faculty members, a faculty emeritus, and an alumna

November 15, 2011
photo of Ann Joslin Williams in UNH Library

Ann Joslin Williams

Ann Joslin Williams, assistant professor of English, and Charles Simic, professor emeritus of English, were recognized at the NH Literary Awards ceremony in Manchester earlier this month. Williams’s novel Down from Cascom Mountain won Outstanding Book of Fiction while Simic was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deborah Brown, professor of English at UNH Manchester, also received an award: Outstanding Book of Poetry for Walking the Dog’s Shadow.

Meg Heckman ’01 (English/journalism) was awarded the Donald M. Murray Outstanding Journalism Award for her series on hepatitis C in the Concord Monitor.

The award program is presented by New Hampshire Writers’ Project.

Read an excerpt from Williams’s Down from Cascom Mountain.

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