Ted Berrigan Poems

Ted Berrigan was an American poet born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1934. His poetry has been compared to that of Allen Ginsberg and the other Beat poets and it is usually categorized under the American Expressionism movement. He passed away in 1983.

A Final Sonnet

by Ted Berrigan

‘A Final Sonnet’ by Ted Berrigan is a meditative poem that follows a man’s disjointed thoughts as he struggles to comprehend death.

This poem is an excellent example of Ted Berrigan’s work. It is from his most celebrated work, "The Sonnets" (1964), a sequence that centers around key quotes and figures that are repeated throughout the poems. It exemplifies Berrigan’s disjunctive grammar, his repetition of important lines, and his use of text from other authors. Two of his lines appear in other poems from the sequence, and he quotes from Shakespeare’s "The Tempest."

How strange to be gone in a minute! A man

Signs a shovel and so he digs Everything

Turns into writing a name for a day

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