Books That Inspire 2007

The Dream Songs
John Berryman

Once, in a more reckless life, I said of John Berryman what Berryman had said of Yeats: I want to be this man. Not be like him. Be him. I carried my copy of The Dream Songs everywhere, carried the poems in my head-their bare lofting of brief joy, their plummeting abjection. These self-elegies, it seemed to me, were the only poetry. Now, as I recite Dream Songs in the state of Berryman's birth, where he was "once in a sycamore...glad all at the top," singing, my sense of loss is undiminished; yet now I valorize his grasp at life rather than the romantic leaps of his death.
Gary Hawkins
Expository Writing