Me and John Berryman
At my regular Exploring Poetry gig at The Avenue Neighbourhood House in South Blackburn we’ve been looking at the work of John Berryman – beginning with his ambitious work ‘Homage to Mistress Bradstreet’. In preparation for this dive into Berryman’s work, I read Paul Mariani’s biography of the poet. I was intrigued to learn that John Berryman put a personal ad in the New York Review of Books – twice. The first time he was desperate for work. The second time, less so, as he was better known. The second ad read:
POET BIOGRAPHER CRITIC SCHOLAR, Pultizer, NBA, etc., top tenure major university, paperback reprints selling briskly, readings & lectures country-wide, stonewalling seminar-leader might be interested contributing radiance & the facts to an occasional change of scene. Next Jan – Feb bare possibility.
How would my ad read?
POET CHILDREN’S WRITER, Multi-prize winner, etc. An inspiring talker – prof development talks particularly – also readings, respected teacher is definitely interested in any kind of regular income over the next couple of months. Every possibility considered.
In the meantime, the rain falls.