Saturday, January 7, 2012

John Berryman and Friend, Minneapolis, 1972

Enough’s enough 

Heraclitus, don’t you go 
Tell me again 
I know 
This river is different. 

NB: John Berryman committed suicide on January 7 (Nativity of St. John the Baptist or Forerunner).


  1. Vassilis,

    thank you for this tribute-poem to one of my favourite poets. His poetry is magnificent.

  2. The really painful irony of those last lines is that poor John missed the river, landing instead on the rocky bank—if my memory of Haffenden's biography serves....

  3. Berryman came back to the UW campus in 1969/1970 (he'd previously been a lecturer there in 1950, I believe)and gave some readings as well as guest-teaching a few classes--I was fortunate to be in one of them and shocked upon hearing of his death a few years later.

  4. Berryman's late poetry was a testament to the alcoholic dishonesty of mainstream American poetry. The early gifts stewed and marinated in decades of academic self-pity, the later work one long suicide note, barely matching in bathos the equally suicidal and pathetic babblings of Plath.

    Joe has it right. Dude was so fucked up he missed the water (which was in any case iced-over) and hit the dead frozen American barren grounds.

  5. Only kidding, of course.

    It's those poets with a great sense of humour that stir up my student blood every time!


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