A tide of voices (PoemTalk #196)

Hart Crane, "The Harbor Dawn"

Hart Crane


Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué and Jonathan Dick joined Al Filreis to discuss Hart Crane’s “The Harbor Dawn.” It's the third poem-section of The Bridge, Crane’s 15-canto poem. Crane began composing The Bridge in 1923 and it was published by Black Sun Press in 1930. We don’t alas have a recording of Crane reading this poem; nor do any recordings of Crane survive. But PennSound’s Hart Crane author page includes two of Crane’s poems as performed by Tennessee Williams! So before our discussion began, we listened to Williams's transatlantic/southern American inflection. Crane the Ohioan who spent a good deal of time around working-class New Yorkers, would not have sounded this way. Yet listen and get a sense of how our talk was perhaps affected by Williams’s performance. Nonetheless we heard in Crane’s poem major traces of Whitman, Eliot, O’Hara, Schuyler, the Romantics (that window casement...), Samuel R. Delany, even Jack Kerouac.

During the conversation we tried to imagine Crane’s contemporary influence and readership. We recalled Delany’s devotion to Crane as expressed in a 2007 event celebrating Crane at the Kelly Writers House. Here is a link to Delaney’s 41-minute talk on Crane given that day.

Here is a link to the text of the poem, and here is a link to the recording.

This episode was engineered by a trio of studio talents: Magda Andrews-Hoke, Makena Deveraux, and Élan Martin-Prashad. And it was edited, as always, by Zach Carduner. PoemTalk is also available through most podcast apps and sites, so check us out, and subscribe, and leave us a review. Next time on PoemTalk, Al will be joined by Sally van Doren, Michelle Taransky and Christy Davids to talk about Marjorie Welish’s “Begetting Textile.”