Charles Simic on Walt Whitman

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Poet Charles Simic may prefer the “pleasant aftertaste” of a literary amuse-bouche before bed, but when prompted about one of his favorite literary passages, he chose Walt Whitman’s “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim.” Over at the Atlantic, Simic explains why the poem moves him through the context of his experiences growing up in Belgrade during WWII:

I’m not a person who gets teary-eyed reading poetry—other people’s poetry, or my own. But my eyes were moist, and my students looked at me with some discomfort, as I tried to explain it to them what I was feeling.


You can find Charley Locke's journalism on WIRED, tweets @CHARLEY_LOCKE, and drawings on her parents' fridge. You can also sometimes spot Charley imperiously making book recommendations while managing the McSweeney's Pop-Up Shops. More from this author →