One of the most astonishing things about this astonishing book is that it follows so closely in time the enormous achievement of the author's Dream Songs, the first part of which 77 Dream Songs, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1965 and the second part, His Toy, His Dream, His Rest, the National Book Award for Poetry in 1969.
Love & Fame is written in a style new for Berryman, new for anybody. The poet talks of his beginnings as an artist' of his loves; of the strange experience of fame ("Dawdling into glory"); of violent politics' of a sanatorium in the Midwest ("Hospital racket, nurses' iron smiles")' of the whole peculiar business of being and staying alive. The poems are cast in language that is fresh, frank blunt, exuberantly gay, shocking, funny, deeply tragic, and never less than memorable:
Thought much I then on perforated daddy,
daddy boxed in & let down with strong straps
when I my friends' homes visited, with fathers
universal & intact.
Love & Fame culminates in a grave series of "Eleven Addresses to the Lord."
"...Love & Fame (1970), the last book that Berryman saw to publication ?[was] the most nakedly confessional of all his books?" - The Atlantic