The Dream Songs: Poems
This edition combines The Dream Songs, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1965, and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1969 and contains all 385 songs. Of The Dream Songs, A. Alvarez wrote in The Observer, "A major achievement. He has written an elegy on his brilliant generation and, in the process, he has also written an el...more
There sat down, once, a thing on Henry's heart so heavy, if he had a hundred years & more, & weeping, sleepless, in all them time...more
Henry could not make good.
Starts again always in Henry's ears
the little cough somewhere, an odour, a chime.
And there is another thing he has in mind
like a grave Sienese face a thousand years
would fail to blur the still profiled reproach of. Ghastly,
with open eyes, he attends, blind.
All the bells say: too late. This is not for tears;
But never did Harry
i am deep into The Dream Songs, John Berryman's book of 385 poems published in 1969, such that i found myself wondering last night whether i can continue to relate to people who haven't read them. this particular effect wore off about an hour after i put the book down, but that's how powerful they are, taken many at a time. the depth of expression and range of emotion is really unlike anything i've ever encountered; he has me grinning wryly one moment and broken hearted t...more
I've been pecking, then rummaging, then gobbling, then feasting, then gagging, then lilting over these poems for the past month or so.
I appreciate it when more erudite people than myself admit that they might easily tag a poetry book with the triumphal term "read" when- alas! world enough and tome!- they haven't actually, literally, sat down and read all of it, as one reads novels or short stories.
Very few poets can really claim this, at least in my reading life, ironically it's rarer than you...more
Now, with a Master's in poetry under my belt, I said to myself, I am going to conquer these poems!! I must!!
It's not easy. I grappled with them for about a hundred...more
In my twenties I knew that Berryman wa...more
Almost everything else there I liked--but not these. I just didn't get it.
Pretty hard to read. Just not very fun.
(I know they're not meant for fun. Still...)
Somehow, nothing to pull you in. Just kind of grating, off-putting.
Also...You ever read "Cat's Cradle" ?
How they say "No damned cat. No damned cradle."
I thought that here.
Where's the dreams? Where's the song?
(And I've even heard some good explanations, too--about this stuff.)
That Dreamsongs from some anci...more
The narrator of the poems is Henry, who sometimes carries on a dialogue with a...more
Had in my mind, always, that John Berryman leapt to his death from a bridge. It coloured
my thoughts as I read each poem. Found many of the poems very difficult to understand,
obscure in the same way that I found with Hart Crane's work, and then suddenly, as in Crane, a
poem which is accessible and very poignant and meaningful and simple.
Because The Dream Songs are regarded as this century's Leaves of Grass felt that I
owed it to myself to read all 385 poems - now feel impelled to, say, read...more
He manages to cover so many topics in this massive collection of dream songs - "narrated" by Henry, who is a mirror of Berryman - a Berryman who could have been but wasn't (Plus M...more
If you want to get just a taste of Berryman, I recommend the f...more
They are only meant to terrify & comfort."
385 blank verse sonnets with random end-rhyme patterns that are sometimes drunken, frustrated, lunatic ravings and babbling that cover a crazy amount of topics including academia, sex, suicides, travel, ambition, pride, loneliness, death, poets, and poetry. At first, it all seems inapprehensible, but as you read it more and more, it just starts to seep in through the unconscious parts of yo...more
The book is problematic for me, containing some of my favorite poems by any poet, demonstrating a steady ear, clearly a innovative work of art, yet filled with poems that I could not care a whit about. The best (my favorite) of the songs...more
A pamphlet entitled Poems was...more