Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of
John Berryman's The Dream Songs
by Jim Vrabel
The late John Berryman was one of America's greatest poets. His masterpiece,
The Dream Songs
, has been described as containing a "wild mixture of high lyricism
and low comedy [which] plumbed the extreme reaches of a human soul and psyche." Brilliant as most of the songs are,
however, their "wrenched syntax, scrambled diction, [and] extraordinary leaps of language and tone" can intimidate and
Homage to Henry
transforms The Dream Songs
into a more accessible drama for the theater audience, at
once hilarious and haunting. The play brings to the stage the unforgettable - and, to himself, unforgivable - character
of Henry ("not the poet, not me," Berryman famously protested) and his encounters with wine and women, faculty meetings,
fame, and family, growing old and searching for God. Henry also ruminates on the point of poetry and presents portraits
of his fellow poets, "the flaming best [of] expression's kings" like Frost, Lowell and Plath. Paul Mariani, one of
Berryman's biographers and a poet himself, calls Homage to Henry "a sad and very human story, as stark in its way as
anything in Samuel Beckett."
Tuesday March 30, 2010 at 7pm
Reservations recommended, please call 617.242.3285.
Reading, discussion, and refreshments served.