In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past.
By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to some of the greatest poets in our literature. John Berryman (1914-72) was a poet from an immensely gifted generation of American poets that included Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell and Elizabeth Bishop.
His long sequence The Dream Songs has become an enduring landmark in American poetry and a tribute to Berryman's own endurance in the face of alcoholism, depression and mental instability.
In 1972 he leaped to his death from a bridge above the Mississippi River.