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John Berryman's Life and Poetry - Book Report/Review Example

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John Berryman's Life and Poetry

Throughout The Dream Songs, erudite discussions of art and culture follow and lead into frank confessions of lust, drunkenness, madness, infidelity, and paternal anxiety." (Serafin and Bendixen, 93)
In a reflective analysis of The Dream Songs one realizes the main concerns of the protagonist, how he represents the modern world and acts as an alter-ego to the poet. The poet has been effective in dealing with the delicate ideas and themes of his life and the modern world, through his protagonist. "Henry, speaking with all of Berryman's baggage--paternal suicide, shameless libido, drunkenness--is allowed to aggress and regress, throwing his anger, fears, and blasphemy up against Friend, a blank wall of therapeutic response To Henry, like Lord Byron's impetuous Don Juan, life is boring; however, Berryman's twentieth-century man resists rather than indulges." (Athey) In fact, the very theme and essence of the book is the treatise of the poet described through the protagonist. "What Henry hasto say, Berryman tells us in the distancing third person, will make the very substance of The Dream Songs." (Mariani, xvii) ...Show more


The Dream Songs (1964), John Berryman's Pulitzer Prize winning collection of beautiful 385 songs or poems, resembles a sonnet sequence and each song in the collection is composed in a three-stanza format, eighteen lines with rhyme. In The Dream Songs, Henry Bones, the white middle-aged American protagonist of the collection, speaks about himself and listens to his unnamed Friend who is a white American in blackface speaking Negro dialect…
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