Trinity University Press

Dream Song

The Life of John Berryman

Paul Mariani (author)

The definitive biography of John Berryman, one of the twentieth century's foremost poets

Dream Song is the story of John Berryman, one of the most gifted poets of a generation that included Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, and Dylan Thomas. Using Berryman's unpublished letters and poetry, as well as interviews with those who knew him intimately, Paul Mariani captures Berryman's genius and the tragedy that dogged him while also illuminating one of the most provocative periods in American letters. Here we witness Berryman's struggles with alcohol and drugs, his obsession with women and fame, and his friendships with luminary writers of the century. Mariani creates an unforgettable portrait of a poet who, by the time of his suicide at age fifty-seven, had won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.


“The ups and downs of Berryman's fascinating, excruciating life are beautifully retold. . . . A scrupulous, sensitive biography that is full of pity and wonder, that illuminates the life and searches out the myriad connections between the life and the work.

USA Today

“Impassioned. . . . A comprehensive, evenhanded, and psychologically acute picture of Berryman's simultaneous achievement and dissolution.”

Chicago Tribune

More reviews »
Dream Song cover
  • Price: $29.95
  • Pages: 580
  • Size: 6 x 9
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Published: May 2016
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595347664


Biography, Poetry