Declan Ryan

Suicide was always a spectre for John Berryman

Edited by Philip Coleman and Calista McRae, the poet’s letters reveal how often he contemplated taking his own life, and how understanding he was of the death-wish of others

John Berryman. Credit: Getty Images

‘A matter that hurts me is that I have made many hundreds of people laugh, in various cities, during the last year or so, but not you — and your father is thought to be a wit.’ This was the poet John Berryman to his nearly-estranged son Paul in 1964.

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