Friday, January 7, 2011

I thought I was God's gift to man


Poet John Berryman committed suicide on this day in 1972.

"Amid the sufferings of life on earth, suicide is God's best gift to man." -- Pliny the Elder.

Berryman, whose father shot himself when John was 12, jumped to his death from a bridge over the Mississippi River. His poems, especially those in his book The Dream Songs, describe agonies and despairs, his own and those of the Poet in exile.

Berryman was a student at Columbia under Mark Van Doren, whose son, Charles, was the star felon in the quiz-show scandals of the 1950s. (Vividly portrayed in the movie Quiz Show.)

Today's Perverse Verse:

When Pliny
Was tiny,
He wooed and courted hunger.
When elder,
Dispelled her --
Good thing for P. the Younger!

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