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The Complete Poems

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,414 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
This edition features a new introduction by Harold Bloom as a centenary tribute to the visionary of White Buildings (1926) and The Bridge (1930). Hart Crane, prodigiously gifted and tragically doom-eager, was the American peer of Shelley, Rimbaud, and Lorca. Born in Garrettsville, Ohio, on July 21, 1899, Crane died at sea on April 27, 1932, an apparent suicide. A born poet ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 17th 2001 by Liveright (first published 1933)
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Randolph Carter
Jan 18, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Randolph by: The floor
Shelves: poetry
Five stars for Crane's poetry, two for Harold Bloom's BS introduction.

I made the mistake of reading the dreadful Harold Bloom introductory essay first. What a pile of bullshit. It was awful.

I'll give you a taste:

"Crane who suffered forever the curse of sundered parentage, never could settle on a single erotic partner, hence his quest for every sailor in his generation. But I doubt - after reading Paul Mariani, the best of Crane's biographers - that a happy domestic life, and even a steady incom
Sep 28, 2007 Baiocco rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those Interested in a Correlation between Poets and Suicide/Early Death
Shelves: poetry
This collection was birthday gifted to me by the same friend who got me hooked on the idea of Epic Poems. Hart Crane was not a smooth read, difficult (sometimes archaic) language, frenetic, but at times inspiring. The collection alone is worth reading just for his book The Bridge, and in particular the poem The Brooklyn Bridge, which said friend read aloud to me as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge on a frosty january sunset.

Crane like any poet worth his or her salt, committed suicide by jump
Jeffrey Ethan Lee
Jul 20, 2009 Jeffrey Ethan Lee rated it it was amazing
Still one of the most heart-rending, haunting and baffling poets of the last 100 years. Someone who inspires almost despite his many quirks and obscurities. Beautiful to a point where it was definitely unhealthy, incurable and contagious.

Oddly, this is the poet Harold Bloom confessed was his own personal favorite.
Oct 06, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing
Hart Crane's brilliant poetry continues in the tradition of Eliot's 'The Wasteland,' in that he is interested in exploring the modern American landscape. Crane's poetry pulsates with his passion and tragedy. Frequent themes are his own homosexuality and the coldness of contemporary existence. His work is tremendous achievement in terms of its visual beauty and lyrical flow:

"Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he
Jul 07, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

We make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.

For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm torn elbow coverts.

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!

And yet these fine collapse
Feb 13, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Hart Crane is a spectacular poet. His epic writing is daunting and maybe a little bit overly referential, complexity that won't give the reader an entry into the field of meaning and emotion.

His short pieces, though, are second to none.

"Black Tambourine", "Chaplinesque", "White Buildings", "The Broken Tower" are visionary poetry that stands with that which has already been established as the exemplars of the genre as we know it.

infinitely inspirational to contemporary writing, Beat lit, Bloomian
Dec 06, 2013 M rated it it was amazing
Crane may very well be poetry's last great romantic. Though certainly influenced by Eliot's advances in form, he rejected that poet's despair in favor of a grander, more mythic, and ultimately more affirmative vision of the world. (Ironic then, that he would die young by his own hand, while Eliot lived to be much older...). Crane's poetry is dense, soaked in language, shot through with a burning eroticism, and goverened by what he called "the logic of metaphor." Often enigmatic, labyrinthian or ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Rachel added it
Shelves: for-a-class
I'm not going to rate this one because I feel like I need more time with Hart Crane. I don't know exactly why, but I just can't find passage, as a reader, into his poems. "Voyages" was lovely and parts of "The Bridge" floored me, but ultimately, I read him and reread him and feel like I'm being locked out of a very fine house.
Meredith Watson
Feb 26, 2008 Meredith Watson rated it it was amazing
At Mellville's Tomb:

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death's bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the crimson calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers c
Nov 02, 2007 Aeisele rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who's read too much Eliot
"...The bell-rope that gathers God at dawn/Dispatches me..." Thus starts Crane's "The Broken Tower", which, along with "Voyages", is the most affecting poem to have ever crossed my eyes. What I can say about Crane? He was a brilliant, over-zealous, outrageous, irresponsible, ground-shaking poet, someone who you feel like you can actually live your life through and never have to leave your room. While one must read the "Bridge" (especially "Ode to the Brooklyn Bridge"), it is a rather inconsisten ...more
Tse Guang
Jul 20, 2014 Tse Guang rated it really liked it
One star less for including the fragments, which make this project seem more like an attempt to mythologise or canonise Crane--the tendency is particularly strong for geniuses who died young. He is very very good, but not every word he ever wrote deserves to be anthologised, and if I were him I would be upset that unfinished words should see the light of day. But then again, that's just me.
Nov 14, 2009 Brian rated it it was ok
I found that I wasn't able to connect with Crane's style; it seemed like a 1920s/1930s voice wishing he were in the previous century. However, his overall ability is undeniable--especially his rhyming couplets and the occasional capturing of authentic voices from NYC streets and sailor's bars--and his persona remains historically important to American poetry.
Trever Polak
I don't know, Hart Crane I just don't get the appeal of. He's a bit too romantic for my tastes. Occasionally he has a good turn of phrase or an appealing line, but the work is too much for the reward to be worth it.
Sep 02, 2016 Julas rated it really liked it
(regarding the Introduction:)

Can't that fat fuck Bloom ever talk about something without including his entire life story? Christ.
May 29, 2007 Tom rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"The Bell Tower" blows my mind.
Mar 16, 2017 Paula rated it it was amazing
To Brooklyn Bridge
'A sweeping dithyramb in which the Bridge becomes the symbol of consciousness spanning time and space
---Crane to Otto Kahn, March 18, 1926

'And Thee, across the harbor, silver paced
As though the sun took step of thee yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!
Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under th
August Letendre
Jan 08, 2015 August Letendre rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
"This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps."

It seems to me that Hart Crane got the shaft during his lifetime and spent much of his time trying to become published, although that slowly changed. Eventually he was posthumously trumpeted by Harold Bloom as America's twentieth century answer to Walt Whitman. After spending considerable time immersed in Crane's poetry, I think I would have to agree.

My first time reading his works (8 years ago) didn't leave a big impression...I can't recall much of my
Jan 28, 2008 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Hart Crane is an almost great poet. He tried to be great, and the story of his work is that despite his great ambition he failed at it. However, one does admire the effort. Most of the short lyrics are academic at best, though some are passable and worth reading. The Bridge is his great (and failed) work. It starts out oh so wonderfully, and then just gets clotted, over-written, overblown, too much. I will say, though, that the other modernist epics are just as bad. I'm a BIG William Carlos Will ...more
Justin Covey
Jan 13, 2016 Justin Covey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of this I could not understand. Whether that's because I'm not well versed enough in poetry to untangle Crane's web or because he wrote in a cipher to which only he held the key I cannot say. Unsurprisingly those I liked best were those most easily digestible like Forgetfulness, Echoes, The Hive, his moving tributes to Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, and what is, to me, the most singularly striking piece: Garden Abstract. But, even though much of the rest I did not fully comprehend that di ...more
Sean A.
Mar 11, 2013 Sean A. rated it it was amazing
hart crane is great. a deep american mystery. a mixture of whitman and eliot with a bit of the luscious hyperbole of dylan thomas? yes, please.
one gripe...even if it is "the complete poems", i felt a little guilty reading poems that the compilers even admitted were unpublished or unfinished. i know crane died young, but if they are unpublished and unfinished, they are probably as such for a reason...he didn't feel comfortable sharing them with the reading any rate, basically great.
David Brzostowicki
Jul 12, 2016 David Brzostowicki rated it it was amazing
Hart Crane's visionary apotheosis is fully realized in this beautifully ordained selection of the full body of his work. Nothing can take away his brilliance for bringing to vividness his not so ordinary life whilst living, often in poverty and destitution, in the sprawling masses of early 20th century New York City. Every line is meticulously crafted and stands on its own. He is a hard poet to understand, but as the saying goes: The best way to annoy a poet is to ask what his poetry means.
Rich Dietmeier
Oct 07, 2011 Rich Dietmeier added it
Shelves: poetry
this is first time I am doing this what is this talking a machine as if anyone ohter than the machine is listening its all about machines and their talking I think thats why it is viewed as so obscure and hard to read you have to imagine the clang and clatter and all attendant noises of the early 20thcentury when was the brooklyn bridge built and what does it mean sort of things but I think what he was doing was hearing the sounds of machines.
Patrick Gibson
Sep 10, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Dark, strange, perplexing and mysterious. Most of the poems are almost great—but not quite. Many consider Crane a failed poet. Yet, there are some profound thoughts and stunning imagery to be found in his quirky view of the world. I consider him a challenge and respite from many 20th Century poets. Not everything has to be profound.

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
J.M. Hushour
Feb 23, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it it was ok
I've had this sitting around for over a year and was excited to finally read it, since all the hullaballoo. I didn't find Crane a very interesting poet. He's often described as "difficult" and whatnot, but I just don't think he's got it. I realize I'm probably in a stark minority in the world of poetry aficionados, but, there you have it.
Jamie Grefe
Jul 05, 2011 Jamie Grefe rated it really liked it
I'm in love with his language, the musical graces of these pieces, but must admit, without careful study, a study that I'm just not going to get into, the underlying meanings of many of these poems slip from my grasp. That said, I still "really like it."
Dec 29, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
damned if the introductory essay by Unterecker (biographer)doesn't just about wreck the day of whomever reads it... I'm a sucker for "a burnt match" of The Tunnel. Here is a book for all punishment gluttons with a Modernist bend.
Tshiung Han See
Mar 29, 2012 Tshiung Han See rated it liked it
Struggled with this one for a while, especially "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen" and "Quaker Hill," until I gave up and let the effects wash over me. He must be saying something deeply personal and so I would not recognize it. Perhaps I'll recognize it later on.
Tom Meade
Dec 29, 2010 Tom Meade marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
Harold Bloom's introduction may be the biggest load of wank I've ever been forced to swim through. On the far side of it lie a bunch of fairly interesting poems which I do not understand at all. I like it, I guess. It just seems a bit stiff.
Feb 03, 2008 secondwomn rated it it was ok
Shelves: library, 2008, poetry
eh. i liked hart crane best when he breaks out of his own mold. it seems like he could have been an interesting poet, instead he's a famous suicide. some nice lines or nice images, but there wasn't any one poem that hit me all the way through. parts of "voyages" were nice.
James Schwartz
Mar 23, 2011 James Schwartz rated it it was amazing
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  • Complete Poems
  • “A”
  • The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara
  • Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
  • Selected Poems: Summer Knowledge
  • Collected Poems, 1912-1944
  • The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play
  • New Collected Poems
  • Above the River: The Complete Poems
  • The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (Revised Edition)
  • The Collected Poems, 1945-1975
  • Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems
  • Collected Poems, 1937-1971
  • The Collected Poems, 1956-1998
  • The Sonnets
  • The Blue Estuaries
  • Collected Works
Hart Crane was born in Garrettsville, Ohio. His father, Clarence, was a successful Ohio businessman who had made his fortune in the candy business with chocolate bars. He originally held the patent for the Life Saver, but sold his interest to another businessman just before the candy became popular. Crane’s mother and father were constantly fighting, and early in April, 1917, they divorced. It was ...more
More about Hart Crane...

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