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Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

Summertime

Poet’s notebook. Every paragraph alive and beautiful. “Tonight, it looks like they are celebrating someone’s golden wedding anniversary in one of the constellations in the sky. I can tell because the ladies up there are wearing a lot of expensive jewelry” (1,100 words)

Looking It In The Face

On growing old. “A reviewer complained that my new book of poems is much too preoccupied with death. He appeared to suggest that I ought to be more upbeat, dispensing serene wisdom in the autumn of my life, instead of reminding readers every chance I get of their mortality. Just you wait, I said to myself, till you reach my age and start going to funerals of your friends. Nobody warns us about that when we are young” (1,530 words)

A Poet On The Road

Poet laureate’s travel notes from decades of touring America, giving readings and classes. “Writing poetry is a solitary activity. The poems, even when they are published in literary journals, are read by people one very rarely hears from. Public readings assure poets that there is an audience for poetry in this country and that Americans not only can make sense of their poems, but appear to actually like them” (1,308 words)

A Year In Fragments

Poet’s notebook. Gorgeous. “This afternoon, I saw a store window full of manicurists at work, a green grocer on a sidewalk watering his tomatoes and peppers with a hose, and a pharmacist sell with a wink something to an old man”

My Fourth Of July

Charming vignette. In the summer of 1963 Simic was a soldier in the American army, desperate to get back to New York from a posting in Germany. But the troop ship carrying him home was idling offshore, with land just out of sight

My Secret

On ways people work. Poet admits that he does his writing in bed. “And my mother almost married a Serbian composer who used to compose in a bathtub. The thought that he could have been my father both terrifies and delights me”

A Country Without Libraries

In praise of public libraries. Beautifully turned and a timely reminder of their value with so many facing imminent closure. “Wherever I found a library, I immediately felt at home. Empty or full, it pleased me just as much”

Last Words

Brief history of final words of the condemned. John Owens, executed for murder in Wyoming in 1886: “I wish you’d hurry up. I want to get to hell in time for dinner”

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