His father was a silk weaver until the mills dried up during the Great Depression, when he turned to the grocery business, installing his family of eight in living quarters behind small stores, where Perchik lived until World War II.
Following a stint in the Army Air Corps, where he served as a pilot, he enrolled in New York University under the GI Bill and began writing poetry. After receiving a B.A. in English, he went straight to NYU Law School. From 1950 until 1980 Perchik practiced law, while continuing to write poetry. He was Suffolk County Long Island's first Environmental Prosecutor.
I Counted Only April was published in 1964. Fifteen collections followed. In 2000, he released a compilation of all his earlier books with Hands Collected: The Books of Simon Perchik (Poems 1949-1999) (Pavement Saw Press). It was nominated for the National Book Award. That same year he brought out Touching the Headstone (Stride Publications), and most recently The Autochthon Poems (Split/Shift 2001).
Perchik has placed hundreds of poems in journals and
periodicals that include The New Yorker, Poetry, Partisan
Review, and The Nation. In contrast to his richly textured
word-images that twist and soar on the page, he is plain-spoken; a candid man who laughs easily. Our conversation took place on a golden day in September, at his daughter's apartment in Manhattan. He resides in East Hampton, New York with the rest of his family.