My Noiseless Entourage
Charles Simic
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Buy *My Noiseless Entourage: Poems* online

My Noiseless Entourage: Poems

Charles Simic
Harcourt
Hardcover
80 pages
April 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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The title of Charles Simic's latest collection, My Noiseless Entourage, suggests the nature of this collection, shadowy thoughts that intrude, jostling the memory like the ghosts of friends and neighbors walking one step behind on a long, winding country road with evening pushing in. These are the subterranean murmurs no one acknowledges but everyone hears: man and beast, the groaning voices, shape-shifters seen from the corner of the eye. Provocative and visual, casting thoughts like scattered jewels, begging to be picked up, examined, remembered, Simic's poetry is brilliant and satisfying.

Addressing both the mundane and the metaphysical, everything is on the table for consideration: "In the graveyard where he collects the rent/ Or in the night sky/ Where we address our complaints to him." (The Absentee Landlord)

In "The Role of Insomnia in History", the personal coexists with the impersonal:

"The mind is a palace
Walled with mirrors.
The mind is a country church,
Overrun with mice."
Thoughts scurry around at will, ever busy, judging, weighing. At the same time, others carry responsibility, those who dwell in the security of power:
"When dawn breaks,
The saints kneel,
The tyrants feed their hounds
Chunks of bloody meat."
Self-examination is fertile ground, making sense of the ghosts that follow us through the years, the simple pleasures, the missed opportunities, the words unspoken:
"All I've ever done
It seems- is go poking
in the ruins with a stick
Until I was covered
With soot and ashes..." (December 21)
The depth of Simic's work is inexhaustible, innocuous characters plucked from an indifferent city, a rural, isolated farm, the past, phrases reconfiguring themselves, settling on the page anew to prick the broken strings of memory: "The sun doesn't care for ambiguities,/ But I do. I open my door and let them in." (Shading Exercise)



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Luan Gaines, 2005

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