John Berryman – The Dream Songs

He Resigns Age, and the deaths, and the ghosts. Her having gone away in spirit from me. Host of regrets come & find me empty.

she saw through things, she saw that he was lonely and waited while he hid behind the wall and all.

John Berryman (1914-1972) was an American poet and scholar, author of many poems about his personal problems and human existence. He was an alcoholic and committed suicide by jumping off the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis in the Mississippi River. In many interviews, Flo has mentioned that her favourite poetry compilation is ‘The Dream Songs’.

Dream_songs_cover_image

Nardwuar the Human Cerviette has once asked Flo about Berryman (6:35). She answered:

‘John Berryman is one of my favourite poets and my favourite collection is probably The Dream Songs I think and he was a very famous, sort of tragically […] he died of drinking, but he’s really just my favourite poet ever. This is wonderful.’

In the Newsweek article from 23rd of October 2011, you can read:

But first, on this overcast afternoon, Florence needs a cup of tea. She changes course again, crossing the street, heading towards the Bowery Poetry Club. “John Berryman,” she says absent-mindedly. “He drowned himself, too.” Who? “My favorite poet.” Don’t let the soaring ballads fool you: Florence isn’t afraid to get dark. Very dark. Death by drowning is a theme that permeates her new album.

In BBC Radio 4 Rhyme and Reason interview from 2011 Flo talks about Berryman and reads one of his poems ‘He resigns’.

‘Dream Songs are my favourite collection of poems. ‘He resigns’ is so heartbreakingly beautiful and I read this when I was feeling a bit… heartbroken.’

heresigns

He Resigns Age, and the deaths, and the ghosts. Her having gone away in spirit from me. Host of regrets come & find me empty.

Flo read Berryman’s ‘Dream Song 118’ at the Electric Picnic in 2008.
hewondered

she saw through things, she saw that he was lonely and waited while he hid behind the wall and all.

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