HART CRANE by Carl Schmitt (1889–1989) After 1917 Oil on metal support National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Carl Schmitt Foundation
Hart Crane 1899–1933 In 1917, Harold H. Crane fled his parents’ disintegrating Ohio home, and his especially acrimonious relationship with his businessman father, for New York City. He attempted to find work and create a life for himself. His early years in Manhattan were tenuous and he frequently had to return to the Midwest when his money ran out, drawn back into the parental orbit that he was trying to escape. In New York he developed relationships with adult mentors, parental substitutes if you will, who served as teachers and guides to the young poet. One among them was a twenty-seven-year-old artist/intellectual named Carl Schmitt (not to be confused with the Nazi jurist of the same name) who took Crane under his wing after being introduced to the aspiring poet by Crane’s culturally inclined aunt. Schmitt was Crane’s tutor in modernism and Crane quickly developed a dependent relationship on the older man; Schmitt recalls how he sometimes dodged Crane’s visits when he became too needy. Nonetheless, Schmitt played an essential role in Crane’s transition from Harold to Hart, from unformed aspiring Midwestern writer to Whitman’s heir as the most ecstatic
American poet of the modern city.
Late in life Schmitt, who went on to have a minor but interesting career as an artist and writer, painted this portrait of Crane, depicting the writer as he appeared in his late twenties, after he had established himself, and not as the callow teenager whom he had first met in 1916. The painting owes something to the work of the German artist Gerhard Richter who did portraits, based on photographs, in which the likeness is fogged over, becoming indistinct and mysterious. Schmitt’s reasons for adopting this technique for his memory-portrait of Crane are unknown. It may be inferred that he was suggesting the mysteriousness of Crane’s personality, especially when viewed through the lens of his suicide. The portrait leads us away from the man and back to his poetry through which it was I entered the broken world To trace the visionary company of love, its voice An instant in the wind…
david c. ward CONTENTS
Inside cover Portrait: Hart Crane (David C. Ward)
2 Editorial 3 News & Notes 5 Letters: Robert Griffiths, Tom Dilworth
Neil Powell 6 Michael Henchard’s Will Sam Adams 7 Letter from Wales Jeffrey Wainwright 9 Geoffrey Hill’s First Lecture
Fady Joudah 10 Amjad Nasser ‘Cavafy’s Mask’ Michael Glover 12 From the Bow-Wow Shop 3 Frank Kuppner 13 Almost Nothing But Sudden Impulses
R.F. Langley 14 From a Journal
Eavan Boland 16 Re-reading Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘The Deserted Village’ Stanley Moss 17 Ten Poems Dannie Abse 25 Three Poems Anne Stevenson 26 Three Poems Sheenagh Pugh 27 Three Poems
Eva Luka 34 Four Poems Mina Gorji 36 Five Poems Vénus Khoury-Ghata 37 Five Poems (translated by Marilyn Hacker)
Shazea Quraishi 41 Three Poems
Greg Delanty 42 from The Greek Anthology C.K. Williams 48 Four Poems Maureen Duffy 52 Three Poems David C. Ward 53 Two San Francisco Poets John McAuliffe 54 Four Poems
Dawn Wood 60 Four Poems Andrew Waterman 62 Those were the days
Gabriel Josipovici 17 Samuel Beckett What is the Word, by György Kurtág Andrew Hadfield 22 ‘And kis the steppes, where as thow seest pace/Virgile’
Chris Miller 28 What the Dead Keep Jason Guriel 38 Chain of Fools: on Seamus Heaney Ahren Warner 44 C.K. Williams in Conversation Martin Caseley 51 Snapshots of Ypres Jee Leong Koh 55 The Pillow Book
Iain Bamforth 63 Catchwords 11
David C. Ward 66 on Patti Smith Andrew Hadfield 67 on Cavalcanti, Dante, and the Classics in Modern Poetry André Naffis-Sahely 70 on Mahmoud Darwish
Miriam Gamble 71 on Mexican Poetry Today Charlie Cocksedge 72 on C.K. Williams
Evan Jones 72 on Paul Bray David C. Ward 73 on W.S. Merwin
75 Some Contributors
Cover image: The cover image, entitled ‘Sensitive, Seldom and Sad’, originally included in Rhymes without Reason (1944) © the Mervyn Peake Estate, appears as the cover illustration for Mervyn Peake’s Complete Nonsense, an illustrated volume published by Carcanet Press to accompany the Collected Poems (2008), as part of the 2011 celebrations to mark the centenary of Mervyn Peake’s birth.
The image is reproduced by kind permission of the Mervyn Peake Estate.
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