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Complete Poems of Stephen Crane
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Complete Poems of Stephen Crane

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  483 ratings  ·  39 reviews
This book makes available for the first time in paperback all of Stephen Crane's poetry. The 134 poems, critically edited from manuscripts and printed sources according to modern textual principles, are arranged in chronological order. They include the poems published during Crane's lifetime in the two volumes "The Black Riders" and "War is Kind," as well as those survivin...more
Paperback, 154 pages
Published June 1st 1972 by Cornell University Press (first published 1899)
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Aleksandr Stotland
I really can do no justice to this often overlooked poet (most read "Red Badge of Courage" in High School, and then just forget about him, criminally ignoring America's second great Goth (Poe being first)and first Emo). Instead, I'll just post a poem of his (or two) to allow his work to speak for him.
Once, I knew a fine song,
-- It is true, believe me --
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! They all flew away.
I cried, "Come back, little thoughts!"
Lisa N
I ran across this poem years ago and was hooked on Crane’s poetry.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

Characteristically terse and pessimistic. It was interesting to read the complete works. (There are only 135 poems—Crane died at the age of 28 of TB.) His inward conflict with the pligh...more
Krystal Michele
Crane's economical approach to language offers all the potency of great literary art in brief, laconic poems. Precise, fast-flowing (often epigrammatic), here is a writer who artfully cuts into the heart of his craft without a word to waste. His work is emphatic, convincing, but not 'preachy' or over-flowing. To plug his argument: "Preaching is fatal to art in literature. I try to give readers a slice out of life; and if there is any moral or lesson in it, I do not try to point it out. I let the...more
Nov 05, 2007 Myke rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Though i be credential-less, Crane is the best to me. i could read this collection forever.

The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds;
The leaden thunders crashed.
A worshipper raised his arm.
"Hearken! Hearken! The voice of God!"
"Not so," said a man.
"The voice of God whispers in the heart
So softly
That the soul pauses,
Making no noise,
And strives for these melodies,
Distant, sighing, like faintest breath,
And all the being is still to hear."
Ben Loory
just reread this. still the best.

A man saw a ball of gold in the sky;
He climbed for it,
And eventually he achieved it--
It was clay.

Now this is the strange part:
When the man went to the earth
And looked again,
Lo, there was the ball of gold.
Now this is the strange part:
It was a ball of gold.
Aye, by the heavens, it was a ball of gold.
I fancy myself a poet. I've churned out page after page of self-importance and angst. But then I go back and reread the master of the style that I vainly attempt to imitate - Stephen Crane. And I remember that I am just a little man, living in my little corner of the world, casting arrows at the sun, like some kind of 21st century Nimrod.
Nov 16, 2011 Zach added it
The exhaustive collection Crane's overlooked poetry. Always humane and unpretentious, many of these terse poems zero in on the heart of great truths.

You tell me this is God?
I tell you this is a printed list,
A burning candle, and an ass.
May 18, 2007 Kristopher rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like existentialism, or short, accessible poetry
Stephen Crane is a strange poet. He is not, by many technical measures, great. Some might even argue he's not very good. I think he has a wonderful voice. His poems are quite personal, thought-provoking, aphoristic in quality, and will keep you thinking about God, human nature, war, sin, and redemption (well, less redemption and more sin and war). He has a really keen sense for turn of phrase that stays with you and drives his themes home. For instance, his poem "In the Desert" reads:

In the dese...more
People usually don't recognize Crane as a poet [he also wrote The Red Badge of Courage and The Open Boat]. His poems read like short, stark proverbs...not all of them are terribly poetic, but most include vivid images.

Here's one:

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never--"

"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

And part of another:

A lad and a maid in a canoe,
And a paddle making silver turmoil
I will not rate this book. It wouldn't be fair on my part since this is the first poetry book I have ever read. I have nothing to compare it to, and I don't have an appreciation for poetry like others do. I can't write a poem to save my life, honestly. Not even a godforsaken Haiku. I furiously rip apart every attempt I've written down because nothing ever sounds remotely good. Although I suppose the point isn't to write anything good, it's just to write something, but I'm very hard on myself.

Paul E
A Wallace Stevens he isn't, but Crane adequately traverses the questions of existence confronted by most thinking, feeling, caring folks of the past few centuries, if not further back. At times he's more didactic than expressive or poetic, but always he's searching, and often heart-achingly so. I re-read this volume in the early '90s and revisit it often as certain lines float to my mental surface. One can re-read poems hundreds of times and still need to revisit the text on befitting occasions.
One of my favorite Poets
Some of these are witty,
Some are bitter.
Many are Beautiful:

Should the wide world roll away,
Leaving black terror,
Limitless night,
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand
Would be to me essential,
If thou and thy white arms were there,
And the fall to doom a long way.

Find a better love poem thenthat.
Stephen Crane's poetry was a balm to my soul at one time. I carried the following poem around with me for years until it finally disintegrated in my wallet:

"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."
And after I had thought of it,
I said, "I will, then, be a toad."
Michael Zahorodny-burke
absolutely one of the best pieces of poetry I have ever read...

Should the wide world roll away,
Leaving black terror,
Limitless night,
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand
Would be to me essential,
If thou and thy white arms were there,
And the fall to doom a long way.

best that...

Oct 23, 2007 Alexei rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes short, potent poetry
I was amazed to learn that Stephen Crane was a poet. Red Badge of Courage...good stuff...blah blah blah. But his poems reveal another world of his creative genius. Usually very short, very vivid and visceral, this was great stuff when I was 17.
Stephen Crane is one of my favorite poets. He's got this really visceral way of baring a subject down to the bare bone and pinning the wriggling beast to a board and defining it in just a few simple words.
I love Crane's poetry. It's simple and stark, and circles darkly around and around the topics of sin, faith and human nature. It had a huge impact on me when I first discovered it.
Adam Burton
I'm really not that much of a "poetry" guy, but I do really like these. Short, dark and bitter... just how I would like my coffee... if I drank that nasty stuff.
A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Dug Ii
This is my favorite book of poetry that I own. I have owned this for years and to this day his style blows me away.
Among many others not to be yourself a favor and read "The Heart."
Seth Augenstein
Dec 17, 2007 Seth Augenstein rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: the-best
they're great. so are his stories, especially "The Open Boat."
The only book of poetry I own and reread on a regular basis.
Expressions of bitter love and brutal honesty
Jan 10, 2008 Veronica rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Crane is my favorite poet.
What else can I say?
I gotta tell ya. Poetry ain't easy.

It takes a desire and a focus and you have to be OK with not understanding much of it.

Some of the poetry in this book, in my opinion, is just awful. It's the kind of poetry I've written down, thought better of and thrown away. Seriously. On the other hand, there are some great pieces (47, 51, 66 and 96, in particular, caught my attention).

Anyone who has read my book reviews (and seriously, is anyone *not* reading them?) knows I'm not particularly a big poetry g...more
David Powell
I never read a single poem of Crane's, nor even knew he was a poet until I started teaching American literature in the late 1960s. Then, like Keats, "I felt like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken." His poetry, in my mind, surpasses his prose in greatness. I found that teaching it to students requires close attention and energy, but the result was always positive. My recommendation to any teacher is to do the same. Explain that the poems are very condensed, they are v...more
Zara Raab
It was only a matter of time before the poems of Stephen Crane, best known for his classic Civil War novel, //Red Badge of Courage//, found their way to the American Poets Project of the Library of America, whose mission is to publish neglected poets. Thomas Hardy, whose dates both precede and antedate Crane’s by more than a quarter century on either side, regarded himself, as did Crane, first as a poet, and only secondarily as the author of the books for which he is famous. A few poems here, al...more
Where do you begin to choose words for your favorite poet?

I know what the man with the tongue of wood wished to sing. And it doesn't sound anything like clip-clapper.
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Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

More about Stephen Crane...
The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets The Open Boat and Other Stories The Open Boat

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“When the suicide arrived at the sky, the people there asked him: "Why?" He replied: "Because no one admired me.” 24 likes
“Two or three angels
Came near to the earth.
They saw a fat church.
Little black streams of people
Came and went in continually.
And the angels were puzzled
To know why the people went thus,
And why they stayed so long within.”
More quotes…