Go back to Gallery 3


If Not for Emile...And Still it was Not Enough Fire-enhanced Digital Collage 3.25” x 4.25”

Within a year of hearing Hart Crane in Mexico, I purchased Crane’s first collection of poems, White Buildings. The book traveled with me as I wandered around Europe alone at the age of seventeen. I found his work incomprehensible. I had gone through high school without reading a single line of poetry so I believed I lacked the critical skills to appreciate Crane’s work. A lifetime later I learned my incomprehension is shared by most. Crane’s highly personal language and idiosyncratic uses of arcane words make much of White Buildings indecipherable. I never again attempted to read it.

Far better, though only marginally more understandable is Crane’s epic poem, The Bridge. I acquired the book in my mid twenties, but didn’t get around to reading it for at least ten years. When I finally picked it up, I read it over the course of a week or two just prior to falling asleep. Fatigue may have been just what I required. Lacking the mental energy for critical focus, I let the words wash over me. Much of the poem remained esoteric, but certain passages grabbed me. His sensibility is modern, warm, and distinctly American. At times his poetry feels both cinematic and sculptural: simultaneously flickering and fixed, exquisite and great.