July 22, 2013

A grammar of laziness


In his newest post for the New York Review of Books blog, Charles Simic muses on “Summertime.” He fears the loss of laziness as skill: “To my great regret, I no longer know how to be lazy, and summer is no fun without sloth. Indolence requires patience—to lie in the sun, for instance, day after day—and I have none left.” Even in retrospect, however, Simic’s quiet dozes and noticings provide an illumination of stillness; in youth, he fell asleep on Oak Street Beach in Chicago, and “After getting up and stretching, yawning, and scratching for a while, I sat down once again and thought to myself, How wonderful all this is.”

In honor of Simic’s appreciation and our ninety-some degree days, here are a few more literary greats who appreciated a little idleness.


Emma Aylor is a former Melville House intern.