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"In the beginning, always, a myth of origins of the poetic act. A longing to lower oneself one notch below language, to touch the bottom---that place of 'original action and desire,' to recover our mute existence, to re-create what is unspoken and enduring in words of the poem, and thus live twice as it were. Like our ancient ancestors who inhabited an animistic universe, the poet claims the interconnectedness and sentience of all things. This is what haunts: a world where magic is possible, where chance reigns, where metaphors have their supreme logic, where imagination is free and truthful."
The Uncertain Certainty provides a rich critical and autobiographical background against which we may view Charles Simic's major contributions to modern American poetry. Subjects covered in the collection range from Simic's recollections of his childhood in World War II Yugoslavia, his work as a translator, his interest in surrealism and other aspects of modernism, to the various issues that concern the poets of his generation.
With Crazy Horse 3
With Wayne Dodd and Stanley Plumly 11
With George Starbuck 27
With Rod Steier 46
With Students at Interlochen School 51
With Rick Jackson and Michael Panori 58
With Sherod Santos 68
II. Essays, Introductions, Notes
Negative Capability and Its Children 83
Vasko Popa 92
A Retired School Teacher in Galoshes 96
The Partial Explanation 101
Images and "Images" 105
A Clear and Open Place 108
Some Thoughts about the Line 113
Streets Strewn with Garbage 115
The Infinitely Forked Mother Tongue 118
Classic Ballroom Dances 120
Notes on Poetry and History 124