Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia). He is the son of George Simic and Helen (Matijevich) Simic. He had a traumatic childhood during World War II. Simic’s father left the country for work in Italy, and his mother tried several times to follow, only to be turned back by authorities. When Simic was fifteen, the family finally travelled to Paris. In a year, Simic sailed for America to reunite with his father.