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John Berryman

Selected Poems: (American Poets Project #11)

John Berryman, Kevin Young (Editor)


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Paperback (8/1/1991)


“Staggering, swaggering, intoxicating”: John Berryman achieved a poetry where (in the words of editor Kevin Young) “protagonists search for a lover or friend, ancestor or listener, with a recklessness that only Whitman allowed himself. . . . Berryman becomes Everyman attempting, falling short of, and often achieving greatness."

Young’s selection, the first new selection of Berryman’s poems in over 30 years, encompasses the formal accomplishments of his early work, epitomized in the masterful Homage to Mistress Bradstreet; the explosive and mesmerizing diction of Dream Songs, and his wrenching religious poems.

At once traditional and radical, Berryman was a master of technique who remade language with gusto. No poet of his time wrote more distinctively or inventively, or with more relentless intensity. With its formal exuberance and its uncompromising, often heartbreaking expressiveness, his poetry continues to surprise and challenge.

About the American Poets Project
Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today’s most discerning poets and critics.

Praise For John Berryman: Selected Poems: (American Poets Project #11)

“Imagine Emily Dickinson crossed with Bessie Smith and Groucho Marx. The results, to use one of Berryman’s favorite words, are ‘ delicious.’”—Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post

Library of America, 9781931082693, 200pp.

Publication Date: November 4, 2004

About the Author

Kevin Young is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose, including Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; Book of Hours (2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets; Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (2011), winner of an American Book Award; and Dear Darkness (2008). His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and poetry editor of The New Yorker.