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John Berryman

(25 October 1914 - 7 January 1972 / McAlester, Oklahoma)

John Berryman
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John Allyn Berryman was an American poet and scholar, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and was considered a key figure in the Confessional school of poetry. His best-known work is The Dream Songs.

Life and Career

John Berryman was born and raised in Oklahoma until the age of 10, when his father, John Smith, a banker, and his mother, Martha, who was a schoolteacher, moved to Tampa, Florida. In 1926, in Florida, when the poet was twelve, his father shot and killed himself just outside his son's bedroom window. Berryman was haunted by his father's suicide for the rest of his life and would ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business.''
    John Berryman (1914-1972), U.S. poet. Interview in Writers at Work, Fourth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1976).
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Comments about John Berryman

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  • Rookie - 0 Points Christopher Amati (9/4/2014 5:37:00 PM)

    I am reading Dream Songs. I cant really like this poetry. I like Lowell so much, I thought I could eventually like Berryman, but no. Lowell is sculptural, so dramatic and so inventive. Berryman just seems kind of...whiny

  • Rookie Kenneth Belknap (4/1/2011 10:37:00 PM)

    Came here just to find some of the Dream Songs. Are there lots of poets who are unreadable on this sight?

  • Rookie Aj Pinquot (6/27/2010 7:48:00 PM)

    Is there any way to actually, you know, read the effing poems?

  • Rookie Ravi Avasthi (8/30/2009 11:27:00 AM)

    too early to comment, just opened my account

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