Now, years later, she confessed that she had thought, for a long time, that John Berryman was some sort of fake. The great thinker-poet, who used to orate and make pronouncements beyond the reality she felt to be possible, who was actual, turned her off.
He was, she thought, all talk, mostly pretension. He, trying to grapple with life and death and death within life, was trying with all his might to state what he felt he must, pronouncing what he saw. He didn’t like life always or even all that often. Now, years later, she confessed that she only became convinced that he was serious, to be weightily considered, when he actually took his life.
What testimony to a poet’s life that he must commit suicide to convince her that he was real, after all?
(And if he was not real…?)