Hart Crane

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Crane, Hart

(Harold Hart Crane), 1899–1932, American poet, b. Garrettsville, Ohio. He published only two volumes of poetry during his lifetime, but those works established Crane as one of the most original and vital American poets of the 20th cent. His extraordinarily complex, visionary, and sonorous poetry, with its rich imagery, verbal ingenuity, frequent obscurity, and meticulous craftsmanship, combines ecstatic optimism with a sense of haunted alienation. White Buildings (1926), his first collection of poems, was inspired by his experience of New York City, where he had gone to live at the age of 17. His most ambitious work is The Bridge (1930), a series of closely related long poems on the United States in which the Brooklyn Bridge serves as a mystical unifying symbol of civilization's evolution.

Crane's personal life was anguished and turbulent. After an unhappy childhood during which he was torn between estranged parents, he held a variety of uninteresting jobs, always, however, returning to New York City and his writing. An alcoholic and a homosexual, he was constantly plagued by money problems and was often a severe trial to friends who tried to help him. In 1931 he won a Guggenheim Fellowship and went to Mexico to work on a long poem about Latin America; a year later, returning by ship to the United States, the poem not even started, he jumped overboard and drowned. His collected poems were published in 1933.


See Hart Crane: Complete Poems and Selected Letters (2006), ed. by L. Hammer; letters ed. by T. S. W. Lewis (1974); O My Land, My Friends (1997), selected letters, ed. by L. Hammer and B. Weber; The Correspondence between Hart Crane and Waldo Frank (1998), ed. by S. H. Cook; biographies by P. Horton (new ed. 1957), J. Unterecker (1969, repr. 1987), P. Mariani (1999), and C. Fisher (2002); studies by R. W. B. Lewis (1967), M. D. Uroff (1974), R. Combs (1978), D. R. Clark, ed. (1982), A. Trachtenberg, ed. (1982), H. Bloom, ed. (1986), M. F. Bennett (1987), W. Berthoff (1989), T. E. Yingling (1990), B. Reed (2006), G. A. Tapper (2006), and J. T. Irwin (2011).

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Crane, (Harold) Hart

(1899–1932) poet; born in Garrettsville, Ohio. Educated in Cleveland, Ohio, he worked in a shipyard, at his father's drug store, and in advertising before moving to New York City (1923) where he worked briefly for a publishing firm. He is known for his visionary and symbolic poetry, as in The Bridge (1930). He led a dissolute life and traveled widely; returning from a trip to Mexico (1931–32), he apparently jumped off the ship and drowned.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
In The Bridge, Hart Crane does not oblige Pocahontas to leap into a happy marriage with either Smith or Rolfe.
Hart Crane Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York, NY.
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His poems have been shaped by Virgil and Dante, Edmund Campion and John Donne and Gerard Manley Hopkins, the confessional modes of Berryman and Lowell, the American idiom of Williams as well as the syntactic complexities of Wallace Stevens and the troubled visionary world of Hart Crane (the last three subjects of poems in Epitaphs).
In "'Looking for the god in Brooklyn': The Romantic Affinities of Thomas Wolfe and Hart Crane," Joe Albernaz builds on a critical tradition of locating Wolfe among the writers of his time.
"Portrait of the Artist with Li Po" appears in The Southern Cross (1981), after five other self-portrait poems and immediately after "Portrait of the Artist with Hart Crane," so it stands in complex relation to these other poems and to the act of painting oneself, or a self, into a poem.
Commencing with that rugged, empathic democrat, Walt Whitman, and following with a score of other character studies, including considerations of poets Hart Crane and Marianne Moore, Native Son author Richard Wright, and contemporary novelist Paul Auster, Hughes writes capably about the vast terrain Brooklyn writers have traversed.
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Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, Alain-Fournier and James Joyce were just a few of the others.