‘The Prisoner of Shark Island’ with Paul Muni

July 23, 2007 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

John Berryman


Henry is old, old; for Henry remembers
Mr Deeds’ tuba, & the Cameo,
& the race in Ben Hur,—The Lost World, with sound,
& The Man from Blankey’s, which he did not dig,
nor did he understand one caption of,
bewildered Henry, while the Big Ones laughed.

Now Henry is unmistakably a Big One.
Fúnnee; he don’t féel so.
He just stuck around.
The German & the Russian films into
Italian & Japanese films turned, while many
were prevented from making it.

He wishing he could squirm again where Hoot
is just ahead of rustlers, where William S
forgoes some deep advantage, & moves on,
where Hashknife Hartley having the matter taped
the rats are flying. For the rats
have moved in, mostly, and this is for real.

Yet another poem about the nostalgia for old movies. Except this one comes to you in the exuberant and inimitable voice of John Berryman. Berryman’s Dream Songs rank among my favorite works of poetry from the last century – a collection of poems so exquisitely inventive, so casually lyrical, so enthusiastic in their engagement of language that they seem almost drunk with it, so brimming with the wit and rhythm, energy and sweetness that they should, rightfully, be classified as jazz.


P.S. The trailer for John Ford’s ‘Prisoner of Shark Island’ here.


Entry filed under: English, Falstaff, John Berryman, Poems about Movies.

Bruise My Career as a Director

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