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 kind that combined low and high dictions with an odd syntax." Berryman had additionally stumbled on his so much enduring modify 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 is probably not genuine, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main recognized of the Dream Songs starts off, “Life, pals, is boring,” those poems by no means are. Henry lusts: seeing a lady “Filling her compact & scrumptious physique / with bird páprika” he can slightly restrain himself: “only the very fact of her husband & 4 people / stored me from springing on her.” Henry despairs: “All the area like a woolen lover / as soon as did look on Henry’s part. / Then got here a departure.” Henry, scared 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 instant this day as ever.
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Additional resources for 77 Dream Songs
B. Yeats: Volume I 1865-1895 (Oxford, 1986) p. 399. Autobiographies (London, 1955) pp. 101-2. , p. 74. Essays and Introductions (London, 1961) pp. 510-19. , p. 518. , p. 526. , pp. 513-17. , p. 511. 3 Yeats and the Re-making of Synge NICHOLAS GRENE Under the 'anxiety of influence' a poet may re-make a poetic ancestor to substitute an enabling for a blocking father-figure, but to fulfil what purpose does a poet re-make a contemporary and friend? And what sort of truth or fiction results? Yeats knew Synge from their meeting in 1896 to Synge's early death in 1909 and they worked as close colleagues in the theatre movement after 1902.
There was no Irish way of being, apart from that in the Irish countryside, which they were prepared to sentimentalise, but hardly to live out. When they wished to speak of any matters of serious concern they did not have that 'retrospective field', of which Ferguson wrote in 1840, into which their words could move. Swift, the dissenting Republicans, the men of 1798, these were now a world away (Moore spoke of the men of 1798 as the ultimi Romanorum). What was present and defined, with a very secure sense of its legitimacy, was the modern British Empire, with its language, into which Irishness, somehow, would have to be translated.
The cold dawn light of Sligo was the emblem of this new style; transposed to an ideal figure, it became the mark of Irish nationality, of the person who embodied a secret but significant lore which distinguished him from the crowd. The poem which commemorates him is, of course, 'The Fisherman'. From The Wind Among the Reeds (1899) Yeats's poetry embarks on a relentless quest for an Irish audience which would, when formed, be the chief recipient of his work and, while being formed, would be one of the work's chief preoccupations.
77 Dream Songs by John Berryman