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John Berryman

critic , writer , scholar , poet

was an American poet and scholar, born in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and was considered a key figure in the Confessional school of poetry. His best-known work is The Dream Songs.

Background

John Berryman was born John Allyn Smith, Jr. in Oklahoma where he was raised until the age of 10, when his father, John Smith, a banker, and his mother, Martha, a schoolteacher, moved to Tampa, Florida.

Education

His stepfather sent him to a private school in Connecticut (South Kent School).Berryman went on to graduate from Columbia College in 1936. He also studied overseas at Clare College, Cambridge, on a Kellett Fellowship, awarded by Columbia

He graduated from Columbia University, 1936; B.A.,after Clare College, Cambridge, 1938, also Master of Arts, in 1968; Rockefeller fellow humanities, 1944-46; Hodder fellow Princeton, 1950-51; Guggenheim fellow, 1952-53;

Career

Levinson prizes Poetry Mag., 1948; Shelley Meml. award, 1949; Am. Acad. award, 1950; The Harriet Monroe Poetry Prize, U. of Chicago, 1957; Pulitzer prize for poetry, 1965; Academy of American Poets fellowship, 1966, also received National Book award, 1968. Member of National Institute Arts and Letters, Phi Beta Kappa. Author: Poems, 1942; The Dispossessed (poems), 1948; Stephen Crane, 1950, Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, 1956; 77 Drean Songs, 1964; Short Poems, 1967; Berryman’s Sonnets, 1967; His Toy, His Dream, His Rest, 1968; The Dream Songs, 1969; Delusions, Etc., 1972; (novel) Recovery, 1973. Editor: Unfortunate Traveller (T. Nashe). Contbr. to Five Young Am. Poets, 1940; Best American Short Stories, 1946; A Little Treasury of American Prose. verse, anthologies. Contbr. lit. criticism to profl. publs. Home: Minneapolis MN

Achievements

  • He was awarded the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Bollingen Prize.

Works

Connections

father:
John Smith - United States

mother:
Schoolteacher

step-father:
Berryman

first wife:
Eileen Patricia

the second wife:
Ann Levine

third wife:
Kathleen Donahue

daughter:
Martha

daughter:
Sarah

son:
Paul