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Friday, April 27, 2012

Hart Crane (1899-1932)

We were touring through Greenwich Village, showcasing places of literary significance, when we remembered that today marks the 80th anniversary of the death of poet Hart Crane.

Best known for his long-form poem The Bridge--a celebration of America using as its central symbol the Brooklyn Bridge--Crane was one of the greatest modernist poets of his generation.  Plagued by alcohol problems and the perils of being a gay man in a closeted society, Crane cut short his own life on April 27, 1932, when he jumped from a steamship in the Gulf of Mexico.

Crane lived a number of places in New York, including 45 Grove Street, 54 West 10th Street, and 79 Charles Street in the Village, and 110 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, where he wrote the bulk of The Bridge. Only later did he discover that the bridge's co-designer and chief engineer, Washington Roebling, had once lived in the same apartment building overlooking the East River.

James Franco's film, The Broken Tower, which is a biography of Crane, opened in limited release today.

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