October 25, 1914
January 7, 1972
1914 | John Berryman was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma.
1926 | When he was 12, his father killed himself.
1936 | He graduated from Columbia then finished his study at Cambridge University.
1940 | He published Five Young American Poets, which contained 20 of his poems.
1942 | He had his first marriage in 1942. He published a volume of poetry - Poems.
1948 | He published another set called The Dispossessed.
1955 | Berryman took a position at the University of Minnesota after teaching at Harvard and Princeton.
1973 | He committed suicided after a lifelong battle with alcholism and depression.
Is there a language to depression? By examining the writings of three poets who have killed themselves, we might be able to see a connection between someone’s mental state and their language. For example, psychologists and linguists have done studies that show how absolutist words such as “all”, “nothing”, “none” were used more frequently amongst those who were depressed than those who weren’t. They also found that the use of “I”, “me” or “my” is more commonly used in those who are depressed. Frequent use of auxiliary verbs such as “should” or “would” is also an indication of negative thought patterns. This site is intended to be a small test to see if there is a link between the subtle way we use words and emotional well being.