Picking up on Hart

In the “The Broken Tower”, Paul Mariani, with his fluid and prosaic words captures the conflicted life of Hart Crane.  On a page above, about the beginning of this book, I have recounted how Hart, embittered by family and social life, leaves home, Cleveland and goes to New York.  He is only 19 years old.  Hart loves New York for all of the cultural opportunities it provides and hates it for the dire poverty in which he finds himself there.  Because he cannot make it in New York, financially, he returns at 19, to Cleveland, where his father C.A. Crane provides him with work in his flourishing Chocolate making business.  Hart living with his mother and working for his father, feels he is nothing more than a slave, for which his dad gives him a meager wage.  A wealthy but stingy father becomes a recurring experience throughout Cranes days. Crane, after a time in Cleveland where by day he works for his father and by night works on his writing, unless he has some lover he has found on the side, which can entertain him in sexual debauchery in the lowlier parts of town.  Eventually, Hart becomes fed up, with a nagging mother, upset about her sons reckless drinking habits around the house, and with his father’s blind folded approach to his son’s needs and wishes.  Home as Ohio is just a reminder of his unhappy life growing up with fighting parents and a dysfunctional high school education, from which he eventually dropped out.  Hart exist in great contrast to his father the industrialists and pursues the bums, the hoboes, the outsiders the runaways, the homeless, the ragged remnants of the old pioneers all of which stand in contrast to his industrious, tight, money making father, C.A. Crane. In spite of his unhappiness, Hart took his early friendships very seriously and continued to stay in touch with his high school friends, George Bryan and Bill Wright.

The illustrious part of Hart’s story is that although he gets back to New York, and is still living in poverty, he moves in the circle of some very renowned artists and writers, who recognize the value of his poetry and in fact some of his older artists friends believe that Crane is the greatest new american poet.  The one who captures the essence of this budding homeland.  Among the artists Crane befriends are; Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keefe, Eugene O’Neill, John Dos Passos, Waldo Frank and many more.  Along with Waldo Frank, Hart sought to pursue the mystical essence of America and lamented the common americans disdain for anything in the past in constant pursuit of something new.  In my opinion this continues to be the great dichotomy of the American dream, pushing forward finding ourselves, letting go of our past, yet for some always going back in time to recapture our essence.  America is like a child growing up, forgetting and recalling bits and pieces, along the way.  In his work “The Bridge”, Hart creates a dreamworld, a synthesis of America.  In “The Bridge”,  Hart transforms history into abstract matter and explores the mystical aspects of this giant machine.

Hart was enthralled by the photography of Stieglitz and felt his images embodied the very essence of his own poetry of a higher consciousness.  In Stieglitz photography Hart found captured the emotion of things, the static state of matter, converging with motion. He loved how Stieglitz was able to capture motion in stillness Like Stieglitz, Hart wanted to fuse together nature, man and imagination and transcend limits of time and space.  Hart saw modern man with a divided mind, like ‘the columns of a newspaper’.

Along with Stieglitz, Hart admired Sherwood Anderson and James Joyce.  He also thought that the language of american literature had to imbue itself with the complexity of words and structures devised by the great classics, such as Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson, John Donne.  In Hart’s mind only the imagination, coupled with technique and style, could result in the stark realism he was searching.  For him, only the imagination is real.  In the same vein, Hart’s realism caught the strangeness of material, with symbolic references resulting in a complexity of design.  Other artists, sometimes referred to as the New Patricians and of the same school of thinking, were Munson, EE Cummings, Edmund Wilson, Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley, to name a few.  In addition, Hart admired the photographic work of Hervey Minns and the work by Henry James, “The American”.  One could say as an understatement that Crane immersed himself intensely in the pursuit of understanding and creating art and did not exist in his own capsule, but rather looked outward at what other artists were after.

Although it is true that Hart looked to other artists, few of those influences included women.  In fact, perhaps in part because of his homosexual tendencies Crane believed that women were not capable of achieving the higher level of consciousness he was after and that much of their work was of a trite and sentimental nature.  (There are many writers today who see this male disdain for female artistic work and are looking in more depth at what women wrote, especially as it relates to the reality women experienced in their lives.) There were two female artists whom Crane haled and they were Emily Dickinson and dancer, Isadora Duncan.  Mariani states that Crane would dance with women at parties and admired many, such as Agnes O’Neill, the wife of Eugene, he pretty much kept his distance from them.  Ironically, however, Crane did depend on friends to help him financially and take him into their home, such as the O’Neill’s in Connecticut where Crane had quite a long and bucolic sojourn. In this case and an earlier case, it was usually a couple, a man and wife who would take him in and nurture him.

With Crane’s second return to New York, he eventually finds a job which will sustain him, but he begins to miss work, blaming it on the grippe to his supervisor when in reality it was due to his drink, an obsessive addiction of Hart, which he unfortunately used to fuel his writing. Amidst this reality Hart’s father asks him to come back and take up the family business, but Hart, after some thought, writes to him and declares that he is definitively a poet and not a businessman.  He explains all of the important artist friends he has made and Clarence impressed understands his son’s vocation and even sends him some financial help, but then this stops and Hart falls into such dire poverty with a severe drinking problem, that he loses everyone’s confidence. Even his friends won’t support him financially any longer.

As I continue the story of Hart Crane, told by Paul Mariani, I shall return to recount the aspects, I find to be most important and compelling in the life of this most tragic artist, Hart Crane.

Divided Moon

EDIT Route 700 composite
Dichotomy by David Dreimiller

Divided  moon,  on  the  horizon,

lift  this  lonely  house,  from  the  dark side  of  winter,

behold  the  seeds  of  new  ideas,

 shed  the  warmth  of  your  soft  beams  down  upon  the  Western  Reserve.

With  the  ebb  and  flow  of  the  tide,  propogate the  germ  of  love.

    As   blackness   subsides, bring  the   hope   for  renewal,

of  blooming   flowers  and  verdant  growth.

Enlightenment  spills  out  of   the  cold   shadow   of   the   snowy  winter.

   It   embodies   the  warm   sunshine   and   rain,   of  spring,   summer   and   fall.

The   abandoned   house,   in   all   its   sadness,   survives.

It  casts a  shadow,  from  your  light.

First Snow

Bleakness LR

Photo by David Dreimiller


First snow brings new flakes, falling from the sky, like globes, filled with a child’s magical dreams.  All, amidst the bleak, and beautiful countryside.

Sweet hopes and wishes stand in the muddied road. Surrounded by farms draped in subdued colors and earth tones, they block the uncertain cruelty of winter’s way, and all its repressive cold and dampness, on the Western Reserve.

Dark Lonely House, in the Moonlight

EDIT Route 700 composite

Photo by David Dreimiller

Poem by Georgianna Rivard Bravo

The decease of winter, and all its decay, has left behind, this dark lonely house. It stands alongside, budding trees, spring flowers, and, new life!

Amidst the warm sunshine, on the Western Reserve, and all its verdant growth, what will await this dreary abode?  At night, it continues to cast its sad shadow on the land, under the muted glow of the moonlight.

Susanna Centlivre (1669-1723)

Susanna – first popular female comedic playwright of the 18th century.  A time when women were ‘an unsettling novelty’.  She was the wife of a royal cook. She wrote at least 16 plays, poetry and humorous letters.  She was politically  minded and a ‘card carrying Whig’.  She was about 54 years old when she died.  (http://www.folger.edu)

Susanna wrote: “A Bold Stroke for a Wife”, “The Busy Body” and “The Wonder”

Social Networking

The opinion of John S.  Can’t figure out his last name.

According to John, ‘in social networking, people can’t bond in the same way. It lacks the synchronicity of experience, or shared experience, and the physiological aspect of relationship, virtual connections can’t replace.’

Inner World, Outer World

A documentary based on Eastern Philosophy, which my son recommended to me, comes in a series of 4 parts, each comprised of approximately 45 minutes.  There is a lot of terminology which is unfamiliar to me and may be difficult for me to remember once I have been introduced to them.  So, in an effort to hold on to some of these terms and concepts, this short description will list and perhaps define some of these words and phrases. There may be errors but based on my notations and memory, they go as follows.

Kundalini – align with evolutionary potential

Pingala, Sushunna & Chakra – Energy Wheel

Be the Bee, not the Locust for the Bee passes pollen on for reproduction and the Locust only destroys.

Identify with the stillness in the eye of the hurricane.

Having connections to think with your belly, tap into inner wisdom and use “gut brain”.

Gut Brain is native knowledge coming from the spiral of life. ‘Ask the bees, they have not forgotten to love. They help beauty in diversity to proliferate.

The antelope moves in one direction

Pentagonal, Spiral, logorithmics, Tighten the curves.

Quiet mind to observe within self – equanimity – ying yang.

Spiral forces and images in nature, for example, the snail.

Spiral forces make all conditions and ideas possible.  It pays to take the time.

Plato, geometric proportions, golden ratio, world’s soul.

Art in Nature, Nature is a creative machine. Nature is alive and self-organizing.

The universe was thought of as empty space. Dark – always thinking.  It provides expansion and growth of the universe.

William Blake

Pattern is dynamic, embodied in all living things.  Pattern is nature’s secret language in Art.

Nature is precise and efficient.

“How much math do you need to know to be a flower or a bee?”

Nature embodies the process of self-assembly.

There is mention of the Golden Key and the Mind of God.

If you name me you negate me.

Spirit legend.


God particle – Everything is made of vibration or a hidden dancer – base material of the universe.

Symatics – visible sound.

Sound imitates the creation of matter in the world.  The tortoise shell.

Water high resonance – Sonic waves.

Energy in stillness lies the greatest power.

Consciousness drives the illusion of reality.

Artist and Art are inseparable – Past, Present and Future.

Everything has spirit.

Tetragramaton – Logos – Primordial Word – Chiva


Logos – origin of repetition.

William Blake said the following

I see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.