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Two Poems

Mark Ford

8 February 2007
... garments! How it glints, my rifle, in the sun, as it arcs towards the lake. And listen – on the stony beach the ripples whisper, Oh hurryHurry Harry, oh Harry, hurry, hurry . . . The Death of HartCrane Sir/Madam, I was intrigued by the letter in your last issue from a reader that recounted his meeting, in a bar in Greenwich Village in the mid-sixties, a woman who claimed to have been a ...

Three Poems

Michael Hofmann

5 May 1988
... no wind to blow the glassy fountains off course. My eyes hurt from the silver bedding plants and vermillion flowers. I could almost believe the smooth, slabbed plinth that said: They will rise again. HartCrane The territorial integrity of a battlefield: a small state without frontiers, guarantors or governance, without its own flag to run up its own flagpole – an arm waving in the Caribbean ...

Self-Extinction

Russell Davies

18 June 1981
Short Lives 
by Katinka Matson.
Picador, 366 pp., £2.50, February 1981, 9780330262194
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... I would even say – than anywhere else on earth, even New York City. Artaud participated in the Mexican Indians’ peyote rite, exacerbating his drug condition. ‘Plentiful tequila’ appealed to HartCrane – Mexico was his last home shore. Kerouac’s friend/hero/obsession Neal Cassady was found dead there on a railroad track. Jack London did not last more than a couple of years after getting ...

Roaring Boy

Adam Phillips: Hart Crane

30 September 1999
The Broken Tower: A Life of Hart​ Crane 
by Paul Mariani.
Norton, 492 pp., $35, April 1999, 0 393 04726 1
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O My Land, My Friends: The Selected Letters of Hart​ Crane 
edited by Langdon Hammer and Brom Weber.
Four Walls Eight Windows, 562 pp., $35, July 1997, 0 941423 18 2
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... In so far as there was a shared response to HartCrane’s poetry after his suicide in 1932, it took the form of invidious comparisons. ‘Crane had the sensibility typical of Baudelaire,’ R.P. Blackmur wrote in 1935, ‘and so misunderstood himself that he attempted to write The Bridge as if he had the sensibility typical of Whitman ...

Never for me

Michael Wood

2 December 1993
Corona, Corona 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 55 pp., £12.99, September 1993, 0 571 16962 7
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... ones but also trying for, and getting, quite different effects, exploring new relations with the unmeasured. The book has three sections, the first a serie of ‘lives’ or glimpses of lives – HartCrane, Kurt Schwitters, Marvin Gaye, an anonymous serial-killer – starting appropriately with a bouncy account of reading Plutarch; the second a series of places, people and moments in the poet’s ...
5 December 1991
Randall Jarrell: A Literary Life 
by William Pritchard.
Farrar, Straus, 335 pp., $25, April 1990, 0 374 24677 7
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Randall Jarrell: Selected Poems 
edited by William Pritchard.
Farrar, Straus, 115 pp., $17.95, April 1990, 0 374 25867 8
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... to stain the whole sea’ of modern verse. His advocacy of Scott Fitzgerald began with, or endured through, the appalling This Side of Paradise to the triumph of Gatsby. Stevens, Cummings, Pound, Crane, Dos Passos: their merits and possibilities of development were noted at an early stage in their careers. For two decades or a little more, Wilson was almost infallibly discerning about recent ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’

6 February 2014
... druggies, to Sid Vicious – that warrant its reputation. Almost no one on the New York arts scene fails to put in an appearance in Tippins’s book, starting with William Dean Howells and Stephen Crane, up through Thomas Wolfe, and on to anyone you care to name, sliding to an elegant halt with Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland. Largely it’s the names, not the work. You almost get the ...

Funnelweb

Clive James

5 April 1984
... Grand Prix of the year Before he died in Belgium, Gilles Villeneuve Put on his helmet and I saw the sun Fill up his tinted visor like white wine. Few poets get the face that they deserve Or, like HartCrane, can travel in a tear. Of course Villeneuve was handsome anyway – The Rimbaud of the wheel just oozed romance – But where his class showed was in how that beast Ferrari drew sweet curves at ...

At the Pool

Inigo Thomas

21 June 2018
... Monica; the Venice Lido; the beach at Barcelona; the abandoned pool at Williams’s house on Key West. Williams was buried at sea, as he’d wanted, his body dropped into the Gulf of Mexico where HartCrane fell overboard and drowned. ‘I’ve always admired the gentleman,’ Williams said, ‘and I never had the opportunity to meet him.’ The pool at the New Orleans Athletic Club was another of ...

I gained the ledge

Laura Jacobs: ‘Appalachian Spring’

24 January 2019
Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ 
by Annegret Fauser.
Oxford, 144 pp., £10.99, November 2017, 978 0 19 064687 5
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... and ideals, even the ideologies, of its moment of composition. Erick Hawkins as the Husbandman (1944) The dance was given its final title only a month before its premiere, after Graham read HartCrane’s epic poem ‘The Bridge’ – ‘O Appalachian Spring! I gained the ledge;/Steep, inaccessible smile that eastward bends’. Copland would stress, in programme notes and interviews, that ...

Hillside Men

Roy Foster: Ernie O’Malley

16 July 1998
Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual 
by Richard English.
Oxford, 284 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 01 982059 3
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... in an idiom derived from the 19th-century nationalist tracts excoriated by Yeats. O’Malley tells his story in cadences influenced by the early Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and American writer friends like HartCrane, but with a dry assurance all his own. The heroics come through all the more powerfully in his highly-polished but economical style. The supreme example can be found in the closing paragraph of ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd

10 August 2000
Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... and Caroline Gordon ‘had in fact lived in New York for several buzzing years in the mid-1920s, moving in loose-living, hard-drinking, left-wing bohemian circles and consorting with the likes of HartCrane, Maxwell Perkins, Katherine Anne Porter, Louise Bogan and Edmund Wilson’. The likes of, eh? Still, this helps introduce a rather interesting section on Tate, John Crowe Ransom and the so ...
24 May 2001
Allen Tate: Orphan of the South 
by Thomas Underwood.
Princeton, 447 pp., £21.95, December 2000, 0 691 06950 6
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... needed to strengthen his own cultural prestige, and this meant heading North. In 1925, he left Nashville for New York and there linked up with the Greenwich Village/Dial set. He made friends with HartCrane and tuned into the prevailing atmosphere of world-saving innovation. He tried to make a living as a freelance writer (he was always fretting about money in these early years), signed up to ...

Cheers

John Lanchester

8 March 1990
The Thirsty Muse: Alcohol and the American Writer 
by Tom Dardis.
Abacus, 292 pp., £3.99, February 1990, 0 349 10143 4
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... the essay on Eugene O’Neill. There had been a particular ferocity and desperation about the way O’Neill drank: once, after a dry period, he went down to the cellar to taste some cider with HartCrane and Malcolm Cowley, who had dropped around to his house in Connecticut. His wife found him in New York a week later. On another occasion, he took a half-empty bottle of a Prohibition spirit called ...

Oms and Hums

Julian Symons

22 March 1990
Ginsberg: A Biography 
by Barry Miles.
Viking, 588 pp., £20, January 1990, 0 670 82683 9
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... he gravitated towards the rebels among the students. It was also when he was 17 that he met and was impressed by the much older William Burroughs; a year later he encountered Jack Kerouac. He read HartCrane, adopting and adapting the passion for rhetoric, but ignoring Crane’s attempt to comprehend the culture of the past in a vision of contemporary America. He ignored also Crane’s metrical ...

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