Sweet As A Pickle and Clean As A Pig

Sweet As A Pickle and Clean As A Pig Carson McCullers (Estate)
Pub date 1964
Original publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US)
International publishers Shanghai 99 (China), Robert Laffont (France), Bompiani (Italy), Siruela (Spain)

When you’re sweet as a pickle
And clean as a pig —
I’ll give you a nickel
And dance you a jig.

Illustrated by Rolf Gérard

Anyone who read The Member of the Wedding knows that Carson  McCullers kept a very special contact with the world of childhood. In these poems – fresh, gay and wonderfully direct – she has captured the moods and moments of that time when one wonders who put the “D” in Wednesday or suddenly realizes that Sport Williams is not a bad boy but a sad boy – or ponders just where is nowhere.


‘Written three years before her death, by which point McCullers had suffered multiple strokes and had lived with the entire left side of her body paralyzed for more than 15 years, the refreshingly direct poems straddle a peculiar balance between innocent optimism and wistful contemplation. Many of the poems not only have an existential bend, concerned with such contemporary questions of science and philosophy as the nature of nothingness and why the world exists, but they also exude a palpable enchantment with science, astronomy, and cosmology – no doubt due to being written during the golden age of space exploration.’

– Maria Popova, Brain Pickings



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