By John Berryman
A wild, masterful Pulitzer Prize'winning cycle of poems that part a century later nonetheless shocks and astounds
John Berryman used to be rarely 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 dependent, perceptive creation, Berryman had found "a looser sort that combined low and high dictions with a wierd syntax." Berryman had additionally stumbled on his such a lot enduring adjust ego, a paranoid, passionate, depressed, inebriated, irrepressible antihero named Henry or, occasionally, Mr. Bones: "We contact at sure points," Berryman claimed, of Henry, "But i'm a precise human being.''
Henry will not be genuine, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main recognized of the Dream Songs starts off, “Life, neighbors, is boring,” those poems by no means are. Henry lusts: seeing a lady “Filling her compact & scrumptious physique / with poultry páprika” he can slightly restrain himself: “only the actual fact of her husband & 4 folks / stored me from springing on her.” Henry despairs: “All the area like a woolen lover / as soon as did appear on Henry’s part. / Then got here a departure.” Henry, fearful of his personal violent urges, consoles himself: “Nobody is ever missing.”
77 Dream Songs received the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, yet Berryman’s formal and emotional innovations—he cracks the language open, creates a brand new idiom within which to precise everlasting feelings—remain as alive and quick this present day as ever.
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Additional info for 77 Dream Songs
19 OLD BOARDS I I love to see boards lying on the ground in early spring: The ground beneath them is wet and muddy— Perhaps covered with chicken tracks— And they are dry and eternal. II This is the wood one sees on the decks of ocean ships, Wood that carries us far from land, With a dryness of something used for simple tasks, Like a horse’s tail. III This wood is like a man who has a simple life, Living through the spring and winter on the ship of his own desire. He sits on dry wood surrounded by half-melted snow As the rooster walks away springily over the dampened hay.
II The darkness drifts down like snow on the picked cornfields In Wisconsin: and on these black trees Scattered, one by one, Through the winter fields— We see stiff weeds and brownish stubble, And white snow left now only in the wheeltracks of the combine. III It is a pleasure, also, to be driving Toward Chicago, near dark, And see the lights in the barns. The bare trees more dignified than ever, Like a fierce man on his deathbed, And the ditches along the road half full of a private snow. 23 THE CALL AWAY A cold wind flows over the cornfields; Fleets of blackbirds ride that ocean.
Room after room, Mansion after Mansion in its empty Rosy house. 33 AFTER LONG BUSYNESS I start out for a walk at last after weeks at the desk. Moon gone, plowing underfoot, no stars; not a trace of light! Suppose a horse were galloping toward me in this open field? Every day I did not spend in solitude was wasted. THE MOON After writing poems all day, I go off to see the moon in the pines. Far in the woods I sit down against a pine. The moon has her porches turned to face the light, But the deep part of her house is in darkness.