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The Bridge by Hart Crane | 07-Oct-15

Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2014.

The Bridge by Hart Crane -- New York : Liveright Paperback Editions, 1970.

Hart Crane died tragically young, in the Caribbean at the age of 32. The book-length poem The Bridge is now seen as his magnum opus. The poem is one of youthful ambition, idealism and romance - its quest to build a mythology worthy of the twentieth century. Taking Brooklyn Bridge as its central symbol, the poem sweeps through American history, from Columbus's ship to the New York subway. It is a book of religious intensity, and I admire the extent to which Crane believes in himself and in the power of poetry. The Bridge seeks to change culture and the lives of its readers.

It was first published in 1930, a few years after T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and is a direct riposte to the older poem. Eliot's work was a 'perfection of death' according to Crane. The Bridge is a celebration of life.

Maybe Crane would have grown old and cynical, we'll never know, but we'll always have this artefact of his visionary youth. 

George Jackson
Library Assistant

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