John Berryman, Poet

The reason I decided to make a post about John Berryman is that I was just thinking about something I heard him say in an interview that has stuck with me for maybe 30 years now:  [my short-term memory isn’t so hot, but I haven’t any trouble remembering tiny things of 30+ years ago.  But I digress.]  Berryman said:

 “I only have about 6 readers.” [he smiles and adds defensively] “But those 6 people are very bright.” 

That’s how I feel about this blog.  I’ve never been able to attract many readers, but the ones I do seem quite bright.  He also said that he was completely unemployable, which is something I can also identify with, so I’m trying now to be a artist, which is what I wanted to be all along.


John Berryman 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.
Born: October 25, 1914, McAlester, OK
Died: January 7, 1972, Minneapolis, MN
Education: Columbia University, University of Cambridge, More
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Bollingen Prize, National Book Award for Poetry

This is part of a poem about his father–the feelings of which I can also identify with:

From “Dream Song #145.”

he only, very early in the morning,
rose with his gun and went outdoors by my window
and did what was needed.

I cannot read that wretched mind, so strong
& so undone. I’ve always tried. I–I’m
trying to forgive
whose frantic passage, when he could not live
an instant longer,in the summer dawn
left Henry to live on.[1]

Another thing I have in common with Berryman is that his birthday is October 25th and mine is October 24th, which means we are the same astrological sign. Picasso’s birthday was October 25th, too, who was another one of my favorite people.  Maybe it takes a Scorpio to love a Scorpio.  (I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m an astrology nut–I’m really not.  NO, I’m not!)

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