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The Boston Globe

Arts

Book review

‘New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012’ by Charles Simic

Charles Simic, America’s barnyard insomniac, our modern-day beatnik, the only poet equal parts Robert Frost and Charles Baudelaire, has written some of the strangest, most opalescent poems of the past half-century, many of them collected in his new book, “New and Selected Poems.’’

Beginning with the Belgrade-born poet’s earliest work and ending in the near present — with Simic, post-US poet laureate, edgily ensconced in New Hampshire — it is a marvelous and punishing assembly. Here is the poet in purgatory, as a witness, as a sensualist chum. Here is the poet, estranged from himself, consuming a new American identity, one poem at a time.

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