Nov/Dec 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 6 NonfictionNovember 1, 2015 |

“Trapped in My Rib-Cage Something Throes and Aches!”: Berryman at 100

1 "At twenty-five a man is on his way," John Berryman writes in an early poem, "A Point of Age." True enough—but on his way to what, exactly? Success, or failure? Life, or death? Take a long enough view, and the answer to the latter question is the same for everyone: predictable, depressing. The former, more difficult to answer, is, for a person of ambition, a source of tremendous anxiety: no one has really succeeded or decisively failed by the age of twenty-five. Those who toil in silence throughout their early careers may blaze like comets late in life, while those who catch fire early—like Delmore Schwartz, who was for Berryman both close friend and cautionary example, and whose death is one of the many mourned in Berrymans late career-defining magnum opus, The Dream Songs—may slide into obscurity, believing themselves, at the end, to have failed. "Early fame is very dangerous indeed," Berryman told the Paris Review in 1970, adding that to have been neglected and ign

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

Ordinary Girls

By Jaquira Díaz

1 "At twenty-five a man is on his way," John Berryman writes in an early poem, "A Point of Age." True enough—but on his way to what, exactly? Success, or […]

Sorry

By Judy Troy

1 "At twenty-five a man is on his way," John Berryman writes in an early poem, "A Point of Age." True enough—but on his way to what, exactly? Success, or […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.