New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsPoetry Breaks

Poetry Breaks for Schools and Libraries: Charles Simic

Alternative Title:
Charles Simic

Copyright Date:

Copyright Holder:
Leita Luchetti

Simic, Charles

1 videocassette of 1 (Betacam SP) (32:48 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
1 videocassette of 1 (VHS) (32:48 min.) : 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

The original footage used to create this finished work has been cataloged with "Poetry Breaks III, Charles Simic." A Betacam SP preservation master and VHS screening copy have been created of the master.

Simic introduces and reads his poems. Interspersed with the poems are questions that people might typically ask a poet. The following is a list of the poems and questions (questions are preceded by a "Q:"; for titleless poems, :
Q: Do you consider yourself an American poet?
"Cameo Appearance"
Q: What is it like to be a poet?
"My mother was..."
"I was stolen..."
"We were so poor..."
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
Q: How do you write?
"What the Gypsies Told My Grandmother while She Was Still a Young Girl"
"He had mixed up the characters..."
"Once I knew, then I forgot..."
Q: How do you begin a poem?
Q: Do you show your work to anyone?
"Little Unwritten Book"
"Miracle Glass Co."
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a poet?
"Mirrors at 4 A.M."
"The Clock of the Dead"
Q: What is poetry?

Luchetti, Leita Hagemann

Luchetti, Leita Hagemann

WGBH-TV Boston

Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry
Axe-Houghton Foundation

Simic, Charles



See Also:
Poetry Breaks III, Charles Simic

Home | Exhibit Space | Finding Aid | Search the Site WGBH

The New Television Workshop Collection Web site
is a production of the WGBH Archives. © 1999 WGBH Educational Foundation.

Please contact the WGBH Archives with comments and questions. Artists involved with the New Television Workshop are encouraged to communicate with us.