Hart Crane: The Death Of The Great American Poem

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The French phrase poet maudit expresses a concept of the poet consumed by his vision and doomed in life. The tortured life of Hart Crane---his bitter relationships with his parents, uncontrollable drinking, and suicide at the age of 33 together with his ambition to create the Great American Poem have been seen as fitting this familiar pattern. But his difficulties may well have had a more practical base: lacking wide popularity or institutional subsidy, and faced with unwillingness of his parents to support him for life, he simply had no way to live as a poet, and he was unwilling to live in any other way. For a time he seemed the most promising poet of his generation; the small body of work he left behind, mostly written within a single decade, testifies to both major talent and tragic curtailment. Born and raised in Ohio, the child of incompatible parents, he was scarred in boyhood by their bitter quarrels and eventual divorce. He remained close to his mother, though burdened by her demands and expectations; he continually wished for the approval of his father, a successful candy manufacturer, but could not purchase it by acceding to his father’s wish that he become a businessman. He went to New York City in…show more content…
To some degree the product represent not so much Crane’s faith, but his will to believe; the traces of doubt provide a truly modern ironic undercurrent to the surface of the work. The poem, when published in1930, was not well received an award from Petry magazine. In this year, Crane received a Guggenheim fellowship and went to Mexico to meditate on the next stage of his life. He completed work for a third book, Key West, but squandered his already depleted energies in drinking bouts and in pursuing sailors and waiters. Returning by ship to NewYork City in 1932, he jumped to his

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