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Arts and Entertainment:  Poet John Berryman


American poet and critic John Berryman was born in 1914 in McAlester, Oklahoma. He graduated from Columbia University in 1936. From 1955 until his death he was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota. Although he had published several volumes of poetry and a highly regarded biography of Stephen Crane, his literary reputation was not established until the appearance of Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, a long dialogue in verse between Berryman and the ghost of Anne Bradstreet. He won a Pulitzer Prize for The volumes 77 Dream Songs and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest can be considered a two-part novel in verse in which the only speaker is a middle-aged teacher and lover named Henry, who is the universal voice of an anguished and trivial age. Berryman committed suicide in 1972. Delusions, a volume of poems, and Recovery, a novel, were published posthumously; in both, the poet examines himself and his life—as it slips away—in intimate and harrowing detail.

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