John Berryman

This year would have been the 100th birthday of the American confessional poet John Berryman (1914-74). A number of recent books about him are reviewed in The New York Times here.

See the brief biography and some of the poetry at The Poetry Foundation.

His Dream Songs included:

Bats have no bankers and they do not drink’, ‘There sat down, once, a thing on Henry’s heart’ and ‘Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.’

The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1957-1965

Cover of "The Letters of Samuel Beckett: ...
Vol. 1 of Letters

“I’m a poor fist at letter writing”: so Beckett in August 1960 to Elliseva Sayers, one of his former students at Trinity College, Dublin, who had stayed in contact with the man she remembered as “handsome, distant, a reluctant teacher trying to find himself”. This latest volume in the superb Cambridge edition of Beckett’s letters discredits Beckett’s diffidence.

David Womersley, review in Standpoint

Other reviews

John Banville in The Irish Times

The Independent




The October issue of The Psychologist is given over to autism. It includes an article on cultural representations of autism (e.g. in fiction and film) by Prof. Douwe Draissma of Groningen (Theory and History of Psychology). The Psychologist is pitched at the level of interested readers as well as professionals. Many university students have diagnoses that place them on the autistic spectrum, but unfortunately what most people know about autism is fairly vague if not inaccurate.

Cursus Shakespeare door Hans Jansen: Stadsschouwburg

Students who haven’t appreciated how good my Shakespeare lectures are might be interested in the contrasting experience of four monthly talks at the  Stadsschouwburg (beginning 7 Jan. 2015) given by Dr Jansen.

There will be four Shakespeare plays in the theatre early next year. Alas, only one, Hamlet (27 Jan.) will be in English, but it is always worthwhile looking at new productions. There is a clip of the Hamlet production on the theatre’s site and it looks very dynamic.

The other plays are: Queen Lear, Romeo & Juliet, and As You Like It. Details at: