77 Dream Songs


I am reading 77 Dream Songs by John Berryman out loud to myself. I find it is the only way to hear the music of his poems. I tried reading them silently, but I couldn’t understand them—they didn’t speak to me—and so I started reading them out loud in a scruffy voice while sipping on some dark coffee; and finally, I started to understand them, one poem after another, the voice slowly coming out of its depths like a soft growl; at a raw level of emotion, is where they started to speak to me, when I stopped trying to understand the exact meaning of the words, stopped trying to make sense of their order, their syntax, their exterior meaning … and let the music, the hallucinatory images and sounds take me, that’s where I found the art form. The music of a very disenchanted heart. Beautiful and honest.