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Book Title: Selected Poems, 1938-1968|
The author of the book: John Berryman
Edition: Faber Faber
Date of issue: November 6th 2014
ISBN 13: 9780571097661
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 819 KB
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Some months before his tragic death in January 1972, John Berryman completed this selection from the whole of his published poetry. He designed it to provide both an introduction to his work and a summary of his poetic career up to the publication of Love and Fame. It reveals clearly that Berryman was one of the most original and important poets of the twentieth century.
'His fineness is of a kind we no longer, alas, expect, scarcely even hope for; it is produced by sheer weight of his poetic intelligence and originality.' Al Alvarez
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Read information about the authorJohn Allyn Berryman (originally John Allyn Smith) was an American poet, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and often considered one of the founders of the Confessional school of poetry. He was the author of The Dream Songs, which are playful, witty, and morbid. Berryman committed suicide in 1972.
A pamphlet entitled Poems was published in 1942 and his first proper book, The Dispossessed, appeared six years later. Of his youthful self he said, 'I didn't want to be like Yeats; I wanted to be Yeats.' His first major work, in which he began to develop his own unique style of writing, was Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, which appeared in Partisan Review in 1953 and was published as a book in 1956. Another pamphle.
His thought made pockets & the plane buckt, followed. It was the collection called Dream Songs that earned him the most admiration. The first volume, entitled 77 Dream Songs, was published in 1964 and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The second volume, entitled His Toy, His Dream, His Rest, appeared in 1968.
The two volumes were combined as The Dream Songs in 1969. By that time Berryman, though not a "popular" poet, was well established as an important force in the literary world, and he was widely read among his contemporaries. In 1970 he published the drastically different Love & Fame. It received many negative reviews, along with a little praise, most notably from Saul Bellow and John Bailey. Despite its negative reception, its colloquial style and sexual forthrightness have influenced many younger poets, especially from Britain and Ireland. Delusions Etc., his bleak final collection, which he prepared for printing but did not live to see appear, continues in a similar vein. Another book of poems, Henry's Fate, culled from Berryman's manuscripts, appeared posthumously, as did a book of essays, The Freedom of the Poet, and some drafts of a novel, Recovery.
The poems that form Dream Songs involve a character who is by turns the narrator and the person addressed by a narrator. Because readers assumed that these voices were the poet speaking directly of himself, Berryman's poetry was considered part of the Confessional poetry movement. Berryman, however, scorned the idea that he was a Confessional poet.
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