Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Simic has done more than anyone since Czeslaw Milosz to introduce English-language readers to the greatest modern Slavic poets. In Oranges and Snow, Simic continues this work with his translations of one of today’s finest Serbian poets, Milan Djordjević. An encounter between two poets and two languages, this bilingual edition—the first selection of Djordjevic’s work to appear in English—features Simic’s translations and the Serbian originals on facing pages. Simic, a native Serbian speaker, has selected some forty-five of Djordjević’s best poems and provides an introduction in which he discusses the poet’s work, as well as the challenges of translation.
Djordjević, who was born in Belgrade in 1954, is a poet who gives equal weight to imagination and reality. This book ranges across his entire career to date. His earliest poems can deal with something as commonplace as a bulb of garlic, a potato, or an overcoat fallen on the floor. Later poems, often dreamlike and surreal, recount his travels in Germany, France, and England. His recent poems are more autobiographical and realistic and reflect a personal tragedy. Confined to his house after being hit and nearly killed by a car while crossing a Belgrade street in 2007, the poet writes of his humble surroundings, the cats that come to his door, the birds he sees through his window, and the copies of one of his own books that he once burnt to keep warm.
Whatever their subject, Djordjević’s poems are beautiful, original, and always lyrical.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the 2011 Robert Frost Medal, Poetry Society of America
- Runner-Up for the 2011 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, PEN American Center