Halliday, E. M. John Berryman and the Thirties: A Memoir. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987. Provides an analysis of the thinking and writing that went into John Berryman’s first important poem, the book-length Homage to Mistress Bradstreet. It is the nature of confessional poetry that it can hardly be understood without an understanding of the poet.
Kelly, Richard J., and Alan K. Lathrop, eds. Recovering Berryman: Essays on a Poet. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993. The discussion goes beyond Berryman’s Homage to Mistress Bradstreet period, covering the whole of Berryman’s career. Focuses on his writing and only tangentially on his life; the title is a pun on Berryman’s excessive drinking at the end of his life.
Mancini, Joseph, Jr. The Berryman Gestalt: Therapeutic Strategies in the Poetry of John Berryman. New York: Garland, 1987. Includes valuable discussions of the significance of Homage to Mistress Bradstreet and why it was an eye-opening adventure for a poet to undertake.
Matterson, Stephen. Berryman and Lowell: The Art of Losing. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes and Noble Books, 1988. Though this volume treats two confessional poets equally, Berryman is shown to be more important. Matterson’s discussion of Berryman’s early poetry reveals an understanding and important revelations about Homage to Mistress Bradstreet.
Thomas, Harry, ed. Berryman’s Understanding: Reflections on the Poetry of John Berryman. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988. An excellent introduction to Berryman’s poetry, especially Homage to Mistress Bradstreet. The book shows some of the convolutions of poetry until 1970, when Berryman killed himself, and beyond. Also discusses the revival of interest in the poetry of Anne Bradstreet.