The Dream Songs
John Berryman; Edited by Daniel Swift; Introduction by Michael Hofmann
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Dream Songs is widely seen as Berryman's masterpiece, an impressively vast and varied collection of poems that is in itself a single, sprawling, ever-shifting poem. The songs in this great work are thus offered in many different tones, moods, and guises, although their form, Berryman's idiosyncratic reworking of the sonnet, remains more or less constant.
Combining all of Berryman's earlier 77 Dream Songs (which won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize) and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (which won the 1969 National Book Award), this one-volume edition contains no fewer than 385 entries in what the critic Denis Donoghue has called Berryman's "dream diary." The book also has an index of first lines, an index of titles, and a note by the author.
Praise for The Dream Songs
“The character of Henry [the hero of The Dream Songs] is a permanent addition to our literature.” —James Schevill
“A major achievement . . . [Berryman] has written an elegy on his brilliant generation and, in the process, he has also written an elegy on himself.” —A. Alvarez, The Observer-