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Posted by on Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

I was just poking around to see if I could find any audio of Berryman reading his poems, and I hit quite the little jackpot. Scroll down to John Berryman’s name and you get almost* an entire poetry reading by John Berryman–an introduction, some chit chat by Berryman, and him reading Dream Songs #1, 4, 14, 16, 17, 76, 77 & 382 as well as poems from Love & Fame. Obviously, this one requires a time commitment. The total streaming time ended up being 45 minutes. It’s an odd website, and doesn’t really give any information on when or where this reading took place. From the comments about Tax Day made by the man who does the introduction and by Berryman himself, we know it’s April 15th. We also know it’s past the publication of His Toy, His Dream, His Rest and before the publication of Love & Fame, which dates it somewhere between 1968 and 1970.

If that’s too much time commitment, there’s a clip of him reading Dream Song #1 here.

This is the first time I ever heard him read his work, and I must say, if I didn’t already think he was an odd duck, I would now. Of course, he’s probably drunk on both occasions…

*After about 45 minutes, you can hear the (quite loud) tape recorder reels come to a halt and it simply cuts off there. Ah, technology.  EDIT: oh holy crap–they change the tape and five minutes later, they come back in with the reading! Imagine how far I jumped when my computer suddenly started talking to me again! It seems to go on for about an hour and 15 minutes, but you can catch just the Dream Songs in about 40 minutes.

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