These are clever, highly accessible poems by the UNH professor. Although the poems were written over a period of forty years they are remarkably similar in structure, tone and subject matter. These poems deserve close and repeated readings. Simic writes with simplicity but with great humour and profundity. I particularly enjoy how he layers the ideas in his poetry.
An excellent selection from his book The Voice at 3 A.M. : Selected Late and New Poems can be found at Google Books: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=y0vL053y6q8C&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154&dq=charles+simic.the+lives+of+the+alchemists&source=bl&ots=-bn3406Am0&sig=PAjInGcnhjRxJB-sLFOBcbVf9DU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nhoFT-bpOcKWiQfgh4SdAQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
The following Poetry Foundation article provides a clear overview of his life and work:http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/charles-simic
Brian Henry’s review of Simic’s Jackstraws (1999) for Boston Review also provides interesting insights into his poetics: http://bostonreview.net/BR24.3/henry.html