New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsPoetry Breaks

Poetry Breaks III, Charles Simic

Copyright Date:

Copyright Holder:
Leita Hagemann Luchetti and The WGBH Educational Foundation

Simic, Charles

1 videocassette of 1 (35 1/2 min.) (Betacam SP) (33:51 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (35 1/2 min.) (VHS) (33:51 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
4 videocassettes of 4 (Betacam SP) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
4 videocassettes of 4 (VHS) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.

Charles Simic was born in Yugoslavia in 1938. His previous volumes of poetry include Kerns Cosmology (1977), nominated for the National Book Award, and Classic Ballroom Dances (1980), which won the 1980 di Castagnola Award and the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award. Walking the Black Cat (1996) was nominated for the National Book Award. Charles Simic has received the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the PEN Translation Prize, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1983 he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In 1990 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The World Doesn't End. Simic is also known for his work as an essayist and as a translator. He has taught writing at the University of New Hampshire since 1974.

The University of New Hampshire's Special Collections houses a collection of Charles Simic's personal papers. A description of these materials is available at

Video materials for this program include preservation and screening copies of source tapes of original footage and master tapes of spots edited for distribution and broadcast. Preservation copies are Betacam SP format and screening copies VHS. Paper materials include shot logs of source tapes, production notes, and correspondence between the producer and the poet.

Charles Simic introduces and reads his poems in a New England home and answers questions concerning his life and work.
"What the gypsies told my grandmother..."
"Mirrors at 4 A.M."
"Mixed up with the characters..."
"Little Unwritten Book"
"Cameo Appearance"
"Miracle Glass Co."
"The Clocks of the Dead"
"Once I Knew that I Forgot"
"My mother was a braid..."
"I was stolen by the Gypsies..."
"We were so poor..."
Simic also answers the questions:
"What is poetry?"
"Where do I get my ideas?"
"What is it like being a poet?"
Some of the breaks pair poems or poems and questions together.

Multiple takes of the poems listed above and the following poems appear on the source tapes of original footage:
"On the Sagging Porch"
"He Had Mixed Up the Characters"
"Summer Morning"
"A Wall"
Simic's answers to the following questions appear on the source tapes of original footage:
When did you know you wanted to be a poet?
What's the poet's life like?
How do you know when a poem is finished?
What is your writing process like?
Where do you get your ideas?
Do you show your work to anyone?
What's the difference between your earlier and later poems?
What is the influence of your cultural heritage on your poetry?
How did your learning of poetry begin?
What is poetry?
Selected answers to these questions were incorporated into "Poetry Breaks for Schools and Libraries: Charles Simic."

Luchetti, Leita Hagemann

Luchetti, Leita Hagemann

Simic, Charles



See Also:
Poetry Breaks for Schools and Libraries: Charles Simic

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