John Berryman

(25 October 1914 - 7 January 1972 / McAlester, Oklahoma)

Quotations

  • ''The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business.''
    John Berryman (1914-1972), U.S. poet. Interview in Writers at Work, Fourth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1976).
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The Ball Poem

What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over--there it is in the water!
No use to say 'O there are other balls':
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,

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