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This review is taken from PN Review 123, Volume 25 Number 1, September - October 1998.

CRANE'S CORRESPONDENCE HART CRANE, O My Land, My Friends: The Selected Letters of Hart Crane. Edited by Langdon Hammer and Brom Weber (Four Walls Eight Windows) $35

On 16 May 1922, Hart Crane wrote from Ohio to Allen Tate thus:

The poetry of negation is beautiful - alas, too dangerously so for one of my mind. But I am trying to break away from it. Perhaps this is useless, perhaps it is silly - but one does have joys. The vocabulary of damnations and prostrations has been developed at the expense of these other moods, however, so that it is hard to dance in proper measure. Let us invent an idiom for the proper transposition of jazz into words! Something clean, sparkling, elusive!

Then nine days later to Gorham Munson thus:

All this talk from Matty on Appolinaire [sic] - about being gay and so distressingly and painfully delighted about the telegraph, the locomotive, the automat, the wireless, the street cars and electric lamp post, annoy me. There is no reason for not using them - but why is it so important to stick them in. I am interested in possibilities. Appollinaire [sic] lived in Paris, I live in Cleveland, Ohio. These quotidian conveniences so dear to him are not of especial pleasure to me here. I am not going to pity myself - but on the other hand, why should I stretch my face continually into a kind of 'glad' expression. Besides - sadness (you will shrink in horror at this) has a real and lasting appeal to me.

The second passage illustrates ...


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