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Course Description

John Berryman (1914-1972), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, was an American poet whose works reflect a troubled life, haunted by memories of his father's suicide (when John was twelve) and premonitions of his own. His poetic voice has been described by Edward Hirsch as “quirky and whimsical, brilliantly learned and painfully mannered, smart-alecky, anguished.” Berryman's poetry grapples with issues of life and death, despair and faith. In class we will read and discuss a generous sampling of Berryman's poems, perhaps coming to grips with some of those issues ourselves. Class sessions will focus on reading poems aloud, then talking about them. Lecturing will be kept to a bare minimum. Facilitated Discussion 
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