by Simon de Swaan
When our souls are happy, they talk about food.–Charles Simic
Dušan “Charles” Simić is a Serbian-American poet and was co-poetry editor of The Paris Review. He is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today, and his work has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for his prose poem “The World Doesn’t End:”
I am the last Napoleonic soldier. It’s almost two hundred years later and I am still retreating from Moscow. The road is lined with white birch trees and the mud comes up to my knees. The one-eyed woman wants to sell me a chicken, and I don’t even have any clothes on.
The Germans are going one way; I am going the other. The Russians are going still another way and waving good-by. I have a ceremonial saber. I use it to cut my hair, which is four feet long.
He also received the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate.
Simon de Swaan is Food and Beverage Director at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has an incredible collection of antique cookbooks and books about food and eating, from which he often posts interesting and unusual quotes. In his column Simon Says, he gives us daily food quotes from his tomes.