Praise for John Berryman [The Dream Songs are] one of the most audacious (and intimidating) achievements in 20th century American poetry . . . Very few are bold enough to try a feat similar to Berryman's today, and even fewer have actually succeeded in writing poetry that transcends the artless solipsism of workshop verse. In that rarefied latter category belong Patricia Lockwood and Michael Robbins, both of whom are young and profane and unafraid. Their forefather is Berryman, who in Mistress Bradstreet writes from the voice of a 17th century poetess . . . who knows that if you're not writing about longing and dying, you might as well be composing infomercial jingles . . . [Berryman's] is a poetry of anxiety and attention deficit, as earnest as an episode of Glee, as revealingly scattered as the tabs left open on your browser. It is also surprisingly political for a poet who effortlessly channels Sir Thomas Wyatt's lyrical seductions, a poet who often seemed lost in the dim labyrinths of his own mind. Berryman was weirdly attuned to the chaos of the Cold War . . . It can, indeed, be as furious as Charlie Parker bebop, full of what Berryman himself called 'sad wild riffs.' . . . Reading Berryman is a reminder that poetry is sound, that it should be enjoyed as music, not words alone . . . The best thing one can do for Berryman today is to forget him and to remember his poems. --Alex Nazaryan, Newsweek Praise for The Dream Songs I'd be shucking my obligation not to . . . make a renewed case for 'The Dream Songs.' It's a book that collects Berryman's original 77 dream songs and adds the further 308 he later wrote. This new edition includes a fond, funny and brilliant introduction by the poet and translator Michael Hofmann. Here is Berryman's masterpiece, one of those books of American poetry that, like certain mountains, has its own weather. Berryman found his form in these songs. They are serious, ambitious and elastic arrangements he could put everything into, high culture and low, Shakespeare as well as the blues, strong religious feeling as well as low impulses of every variety. --Dwight Garner, The New York Times. The character of Henry [the hero of The Dream Songs] is a permanent addition to our literature. --James Schevill A major achievement . . . [Berryman] has written an elegy on his brilliant generation and, in the process, he has also written an elegy on himself. --A. Alvarez, The Observer
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About the Author
John Berryman (1914-72) was born John Smith in McAlester, Oklahoma, and educated at Colombia College and Cambridge University. He later held posts at Harvard and Princeton, before taking up a professorship at the University of Minnesota.He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1965 for 77 Dream Songs
, and he continued to build upon this series of poems, publishing the end result, The Dream Songs
, in 1969. His Collected Poems
was published after his death in 1991.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.