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 rarely unknown while 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 advent, Berryman had came across "a looser type that combined low and high dictions with a wierd syntax." Berryman had additionally chanced on his so much enduring regulate ego, a paranoid, passionate, depressed, under the influence of alcohol, 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 will not be actual, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main recognized of the Dream Songs starts off, “Life, associates, 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 very fact of her husband & 4 other folks / stored me from springing on her.” Henry despairs: “All the realm like a woolen lover / as soon as did appear on Henry’s aspect. / Then got here a departure.” Henry, frightened 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 during which to specific everlasting feelings—remain as alive and quick at the present time as ever.
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Additional info for 77 Dream Songs
37 Noticeable also is the explicit physical coercion, almost approaching violence, as the adult grasps the child by the arm and insists on an opinion; there are two successive references to this in successive stanzas (three in the earlier version). ' (Poetical Works, IV, 175) and it is the analogue of the psychological pressure which the adult is applying. The child is being forced to participate in a discourse which he does not understand and which does not come naturally to him. He panics, and seizes on the first thing which he sees as a 'reason' for a decision given only to gratify the adult's aggression.
He must consequently, in a certain sense, return to that negative state of complete absence of determination in which he found himself before anything at all had made an impression upon his senses (Aesthetic Education, p. 23 All this is but a metaphor, as Schiller himself realised: The naive is childlikeness where it is no longer expected, and precisely on this account cannot be ascribed to actual childhood in the most rigorous sense (Naive and Sentimental Poetry, p. 90). As Blake put it, 'Neither Youth nor Childhood is Folly or Incapacity Some Children are Fools & so are some Old Men' (Erd.
The ambiguities, indeed, can be related to the indeterminacy of the autobiographical analogues to this poem, for it may be related to any of several points in the poet's own life. Coleridge wrote to Poole, in the context of the death ofhis own child, opining that the poem was perhaps inspired by a meditation on the possible death of his sister (Letters, I, 4 79). But the fixing of the 'she', within one reading at least, within the context of the narrator's own guilt, seems to beg reference to Annette, and also to Annette's child (this association in the poet's mind of mother and child, both of whom are 'excluded', may help to explain the peculiar positioning of 'Lucy' as between a child and a lover}.
77 Dream Songs by John Berryman