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The Life of a Poet: Hart Crane in the Village


Hart Crane lived for a time at 45 Grove Street (he more famously had an apartment with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge) and his birthday is July 21.

Crane was a poet in the Rimbaud fashion. His life was restless, chaotic and short.

It may have been a good life for producing poetry, but it was a terrible life to have lived through.

And so, it ended in a tragic and painful fashion with sailors, sex, drunkenness, robbery, humiliation and finally suicide at sea and a body never found.

You can read about his life in other places. I'll give a few small samples of his poetry:

His thoughts, delivered to me
From the white coverlet and pillow,
I see now, were inheritances --
Delicate riders of the storm.

"Praise for an Urn" in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

There are no stars to-night
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.

"My Grandmother's Love Letters" in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced
As though the sun took steps of thee, yet left
Some motion ever unspent in they stride,
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

"The Bridge" in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry



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Hart Crane

Although I never read his poetry before, I heard much of Hart Crane and the poet who inspired him Rimbaud, who was nihilistic and existentialistic. The poem "The Bridge," is strange, very cryptic, and nebulous. It uses metaphors in a most unique manner... An thee, across the harbor silver paced, as though the sun took steps of thee, yet left some motion ever unspent in thy stride, implicitly thy freedom staying thee. My own vague interpretation of this is that the sun shone like silver upon a bridge, its rays like a camera reflecting silver pictures across the bridge...(took steps of thee) yet left some motion ever unspent in thy stride (there is still power like kinetic energy in the bridge which exists independent of the rays of the sun). Implicitly thy freedom staying thee... (This line is self explanatory. The bridge exists as a separate entity in the universe "thy freedom staying thee..." The bridge is a symbol of freedom because it enables travelers to get across a river, which they could not do without a boat or the ability to swim. Therefore the bridge contains the power of freedom of mobility!!! Have a blessed summer. Geraldine Nathan

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