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 hardly ever unknown while he released 77 Dream Songs, however the quantity was once, 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 based, perceptive advent, Berryman had chanced on "a looser sort that combined low and high dictions with an odd syntax." Berryman had additionally found his so much enduring adjust ego, a paranoid, passionate, depressed, under the influence of alcohol, irrepressible antihero named Henry or, occasionally, Mr. Bones: "We contact at definite points," Berryman claimed, of Henry, "But i'm an exact human being.''
Henry will not be actual, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main well-known of the Dream Songs starts, “Life, pals, is boring,” those poems by no means are. Henry lusts: seeing a lady “Filling her compact & scrumptious physique / with fowl 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, 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 within which to specific everlasting feelings—remain as alive and fast this day as ever.