For this week’s Friday Favorite, I am featuring a poet from my home state of Oklahoma, John Berryman. Berryman is best known for “Homage to Mistress Bradstreet” and The Dream Songs. And having a great beard.
I’m kidding about the beard.
Berryman seems to me as elusive as his characters from The Dream Songs, Henry and Mr. Bones. Many critics consider these characters Berryman’s alter-egos. I can see the argument, but I don’t know that I’m sold. I don’t know that I have many clear answers about Berryman. The mystery is something that attracts me to his work.
Berryman’s poems are structured similarly to sonnets and have an easy-going lyrical flow. His poems are very different than what his contemporaries produced. He wrote book-length lyrical series surrounding recurring characters while others wrote short, ironic satire or confessional poetry.
Here’s a video in which he discusses some elements of his poetry then reads “Life, Friends, is Boring” from The Dream Songs: