By John Berryman
A wild, masterful Pulitzer Prize'winning cycle of poems that part a century later nonetheless shocks and astounds
John Berryman was once infrequently unknown whilst he released 77 Dream Songs, however the quantity used to be, however, a surprise and a revelation. A 'spooky' assortment within the phrases of Robert Lowell--"a maddening paintings of genius."
As Henri Cole notes in his stylish, perceptive creation, Berryman had stumbled on "a looser kind that combined low and high dictions with a wierd syntax." Berryman had additionally found his such a lot enduring modify ego, a paranoid, passionate, depressed, inebriated, irrepressible antihero named Henry or, occasionally, Mr. Bones: "We contact at convinced points," Berryman claimed, of Henry, "But i'm an exact human being.''
Henry is probably not actual, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main well-known of the Dream Songs starts off, “Life, buddies, is boring,” those poems by no means are. Henry lusts: seeing a girl “Filling her compact & scrumptious physique / with poultry páprika” he can slightly restrain himself: “only the actual fact of her husband & 4 folks / saved me from springing on her.” Henry despairs: “All the realm like a woolen lover / as soon as did look on Henry’s aspect. / Then got here a departure.” Henry, petrified of his personal violent urges, consoles himself: “Nobody is ever missing.”
77 Dream Songs gained the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, yet Berryman’s formal and emotional innovations—he cracks the language open, creates a brand new idiom during which to precise everlasting feelings—remain as alive and rapid this day as ever.
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Extra resources for 77 Dream Songs
53 Man Called Aerodynamics The sky is probably blue and white or gray or has gotten to be night by a nautical process of removing stripes and blending the results with a nonchalant air and all social spaces about the same age as a dim body, ﬁerce looks travel shorter distances and the two are left stranded on the square.
Decant the jar and the sun still shines, the permanent drugs remain in the air, waves go running downriver past the thoughts of trees. Thus is dawn reduced to unseen ﬂutes and night behind it in retired canvasses, one gesture is left against another nor can they be put away, but like a shore in low relief, about to be recalled, old pleasures still stun the world 32 Two Philosophers “Talk about curving” “I would like to die with you” “Talk about the sky” “A nun in a turquoise habit but the turquoise is blue and the nun the air” “Talk about trees” “There is only one kind” “Talk about trees curving into the sky” “Just now the world stopped” “And where it stopped it also began” “And where it began I am jealous of poetry” “Talk of jealousy and then of poetry” “A guitar, indi¤erent, played by a nun, but the guitar is a tree and the nun air and the joy we can’t have is everywhere” “Then we are not philosophers” “No, we are not” “Then why this letter in the crotch of the tree” “Then why two branches departing departing” 33 Plants Waving in Different Directions For a long time I have been wanting to pierce that cloud, which is a pretty male thing to want, but not so male when one considers that the cloud, though a woman, is already pregnant, and made of marble, and that there are many of her bodied forth as premises from tomorrow’s sky and that together they form the contemplative brow of a man thinking.
But then, a thing may be destroyed, and without a hurricane, or any other name for encouragement come riding o¤ the sea. What is the fate of the surface in destruction? Some would say it is multiplied, but which, the fate or the surface? Some would say I refer you to the Red Cross. Some would say the surface multiplies until its very category folds (overwhelmed with tiny interiors), so that the thing in question begins to resemble Cubans adrift on a raft, foaming toward a sandy door which leads up out of the water and into a country blind to them.
77 Dream Songs by John Berryman