John Berryman

John Berryman

McAlester, Oklahoma
John Berryman
McAlester, Oklahoma
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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 un ...
Popular Poems
Dream Song 1: Huffy Henry Hid The Day
Huffy Henry hid the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,—a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
Dream Song 14: Life, Friends, Is Boring
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
The Ball Poem
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over--there it is in the water!
Dream Song 29: There Sat Down, Once, A Thing
There sat down, once, a thing on Henry's heart
só heavy, if he had a hundred years
& more, & weeping, sleepless, in all them time
Henry could not make good.
The Traveller
They pointed me out on the highway, and they said
'That man has a curious way of holding his head.'

They pointed me out on the beach; they said 'That man
Popular Quotes
11 November 2014
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.


Michael Walker 31 July 2019
His best poem, I think, is 'The Traveller'. The speaker in the poem is hyper-sensitive to what other people think of him. He finds company with the couple who get off the train, so he does too. The 'Dream Songs' are not as good at all.
0 0 Reply
Strange Keith 24 February 2018
This guy Berryman makes my itch.
1 4 Reply
Christopher Amati 04 September 2014
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
1 5 Reply
Kenneth Belknap 01 April 2011
Came here just to find some of the Dream Songs. Are there lots of poets who are unreadable on this sight?
15 15 Reply
Aj Pinquot 27 June 2010
Is there any way to actually, you know, read the effing poems?
25 12 Reply
Ravi Avasthi 30 August 2009
too early to comment, just opened my account
11 7 Reply

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