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digital art by phil gennuso

digital art by phil gennuso

This is not the place to go deeply into the biography and character of Hart Crane. But obviously the poet wanted us to consider him a link between the past and present, and in this section he inserted himself, metaphorically, into the stream of the bridge.

Hart Crane’s poem is ethno-centric, no doubt about that. It is not deliberately so, it just reflects his class background and where the educated classes of America were at that time. But there also is no doubt that Hart Crane identified his spirit with the broad, expansive, inclusive spirit of Walt Whitman, and not the much narrower social-political outlook of his class and ethnic background.

Did his sexual orientation have anything to do with this? To give some idea of what he faced … as recently as the 1960s, leading intellectuals viewed his sexual orientation as a “pervasion” rather than an integral part of his life. Hart Crane was an insider, and an outsider. He was part of the American elite, but he also was something of an outcast.

A difficult place to be in perhaps, for a life, but the perfect spot to write this epic poem, and dream his dream.