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This article is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

'Thou Bringest Tally': Marsden Hartley's Eight Bells Folly. Memorial to Hart Crane David C. Ward

Paul Strand: Marsden Hartley, Maine, 1927. © 1976 Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand ArchiveWalker Evans: Hart Crane, ca. 1930. © Walker Evans Archive. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
In April 1932 the poet Hart Crane sailed back to the United States after a sojourn in Mexico during which he had alternated between periods of ecstatic creativity and deep despair over his writing and personal life. In Mexico, Crane had written a masterwork, `The Broken Tower', but overall his mood was fouled by feelings of blockage and sterility. Forebodingly, the ship on which he travelled was named Orizaba, after a Mexican volcano. During the sea passage home, Crane, for reasons which cannot finally be known, lost control of himself, drank heavily and became belligerently hostile to his first and only heterosexual lover, Peggy Baird, the passengers and crew of the Orizaba, and most of all to himself. After a punishing night, he described himself to Baird as `utterly disgraced' and, according to eyewitnesses, at noon of 27 April, he walked to the stern of the ship, neatly folded his coat on the railing which he then climbed, and jumped, disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. Crane's body was never recovered and his family, disbelieving his suicide, memorialised him at the family gravesite in Ohio as `Lost at Sea.'1
Marsden Hartley, Eight Bells Folly: Memorial ...


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