Hart Crane

Legendary poet Hart Crane's writing has been set to music by American composers such as Elliott Carter, Charles Fussell, Jeremy Gill, John Harbison, Jake Heggie, and Thea Musgrave, among others.

Photo: Hart Crane; photograph by Walker Evans, 1930; courtesy of the Library of Congress

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Born in Garrettsville, Ohio and the son of wealthy but deeply troubled parents, Hart Crane left home in 1916 for New York City–the city that would play a central role in his poetry, and life. His poetry continued the tradition of American poetic expression as exemplified by Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson and his most significant work, The Bridge (1930), sought to capture a survey of “the American experience” through poetry, from Christopher Columbus to the present day (an optimistic answer to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land). Crane lived a very tumultuous life and struggled with alcoholism, depression, and other afflictions before he eventually committed suicide in 1932 at the age of 32.

–Christie Finn

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