Kevin Young


Selected Poems: John Berryman

  • 2004
  • Library of America
  • Hardcover
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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.

Reviews & Praise

John Berryman (1914-72) has one of the most idiosyncratic voices in American poetry. That voice, which is everywhere on display in a new Selected Poems, capably edited by Kevin Young, is by turns quirky and whimsical, brilliantly learned and painfully mannered, smart-alecky, anguished. Who could have predicted such a salty, ostentatious and exaggerated comic style—or known that it would come to seem so intensely literary and inevitably American? 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