~ Victor Feldman ~

Gray-Headed Schoolchildren by Charles Simic

Charles Simic has died. Word broke on Twitter a few hours ago, and I’ve been thinking about Simic’s impact as a poet and as a translator—I wouldn’t know Vasko Popa, Ivan Lalic or even the great Novica Tadic had Simic not introduced them to the Anglophone world.

I’m not sure that Simic’s interest in translation extended to videopoetry, however; I don’t believe he ever collaborated with a filmmaker. I found a few unofficial videos back in the early years of this site, and another search today turned up a couple more good ones. Gray-Headed Schoolchildren is a 2011 film by Tess Masero Brioso with voiceover by Victor Feldman, who also stars (along with Zach Donnelly). I’m torn about the soundtrack: Adagio for Strings is kind of a cliché at this point, but it’s also not a bad fit. Regardless, as someone getting on years myself, the poem and film hit me right in the feels.