John Berryman. To meet a need which had been felt for some time both in the United States and abroad, the pamphlet series, the University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers, was established in 1959. By providing readable critical introductions to American Writers, the pamphlets were designed to meet the needs and tastes of mature students and readers of imaginative literature throughout the world.
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Despite career-long unevenness in the quality of his work, John Berryman has become a major American poet, has achieved a permanency that places him in a group with Theodore Roethke and Randall Jarrell. Berryman, it seems to me, has taken on the whole modern world and has come to poetic terms with it. At the same time he has taken on himself, and has come to poetic terms with that too. He has seen the wreck of the modern world (or, better, the modern world insofar as it is a wreck) and the wreck of his personal self in that...