Wednesday, October 26, 2005

John Berryman

October 25th was John Berryman’s Birthday. I found the entry below on my Poetry Speaks page-a-day calendar interesting.

Elizabeth Spires on John Berryman:

“I am interested in people in crisis,” John Berryman once said. “When I finish one I enter on another.” And crisis is continually reflected in his poems, not only in their subjects and attitudes, but in the nervous energy of his oftentimes broken, disrupted syntax.

Named after his father John Allyn Smith, he subsequently took the last name of his stepfather, John Angus McAlpin Berryman, in the wake of his father’s suicide. Thereafter, he became the American Everyman in extremis, struggling to come to terms, as the distress boy in “The Ball Poem” must, with “The epistemology of loss, how to stand up / Knowing what every man must one day know / And must know many days, how to stand up…”


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