Vasko Popa is the most translated of contemporary Yugoslav poets---his entire poetic opus has been translated into English. He was chiefly responsible for steering Serbian poetry away from stale traditionalism, which came close to being socialist realism, in the early 1950s. His modernism is expressed in terse, aphoristic, elliptical idiom, in beautifully crafted poetic entities that tend to run in cycles, and above all in his efforts to penetrate the essence of the phenomena around him, dead or alive. Popa is a poet's poet, a powerful craftsman of images and metaphors, an incessant seeker of the primeval roots and myths. His eight collections of poems, so far, belong to the most accomplished poetry in all of Yugoslav literature.
Charles Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, immigrated with his family to Chicago in 1954, and was educated at New York University. Although his native language was Serbian, he began writing in English. Some of his work reflects the years he served in the U.S. Army (1961--63). He has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts award. "My poetry always had surrealistic tendencies, which were discouraged a great deal in the '50's," the poet said, but such tendencies were applauded in the 1970s and his reputation consequently flourished. His poems are about obsessive fears and often depict a world that resembles the animism of primitive thought. His work has affinities with that of Mark Strand and has in its turn produced several imitators. Simic was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007