John Berryman (1914 1972) was an American poet and scholar. He won the Pulitzer Prize for "77 Dream Songs "in 1965 and the National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize for "His Toy, His Dream, His Rest," a continuation of "The Dream Songs," in 1969. Michael Hofmann is an acclaimed poet, translator, and critic. He has published six books of poetry and has translated more than sixty books from the German, including Gottfried Benn's "Impromptus: Selected Poems and Some Prose," as well as works by Ernst Junger, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth. His criticism appears regularly in the "London Review of Books," " The New York Review of Books," and "Poetry." He currently teaches poetry and translation at the University of Florida."
I'd be shucking my obligation not to ... make a renewed case for The Dream Songs.' It's a book that collects Berryman's original 77 dream songs and adds the further 308 he later wrote. This new edition includes a fond, funny and brilliant introduction by the poet and translator Michael Hofmann. Here is Berryman's masterpiece, one of those books of American poetry that, like certain mountains, has its own weather. Berryman found his form in these songs. They are serious, ambitious and elastic arrangements he could put everything into, high culture and low, Shakespeare as well as the blues, strong religious feeling as well as low impulses of every variety. "Dwight Garner, The New York Times" 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"