Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Ship Kept Going: Hart Crane

Hart Crane, a poet from a well-to-do family in Cleveland (his father invented Life Savers), was thirty-three in 1932 when, returning to New York City by ship from some Guggenheim time in Mexico, he committed suicide by leaping into the Gulf of Mexico.  

Any suicide seems pitiful.  A contemporary critic, M.R. Werner, however, had no sympathy.  "He was such a faker," Werner once said of Crane, according to a letter in the 11/27/06 New Yorker which quotes the critic.  "He was always drunk, always onstage, always acting a role.  I've never believed he jumped off that boat to kill himself.  I think it was an act, and that Hart expected someone to jump in and rescue him.  It must have sobered Hart up when the ship kept going."

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