Watch John Berryman’s Drunken 1967 Interview for the BBC
Life, friends, is boring.
Tomorrow, January 7th, is the 45th anniversary of the day John Berryman jumped off the Washington Avenue Bridge, supposedly waving to onlookers on his way down. So today seems as good a day as any to revisit these clips of Berryman in conversation with Al Alvarez in Dublin in 1967 for a BBC program, a conversation for which he is apparently quite drunk. Drunk Berryman is still brilliant Berryman, but I must admit that for me, his slurred speech during this interview renders him by turns amusing and discomfiting. In the clips below, he talks about craft, Tolstoy, and his own work—including his famous alter-ego Henry—and reads from his Dream Songs 29 and 14. If nothing else, the footage is likely to inspire you to spend at least some of your Saturday with a copy of 77 Dream Songs, which is a pretty stellar way to spend a Saturday.