Allen Ginsberg on Hart Crane:
„The sound in your mind/is the first sound/that you could sing/ If you were singing/at a cash register/with nothingon yr mind – / But when that grim reper/comes to lay you/look out my lady/ He will steal all you goy/ while you dingle with the dangle/and having robbed you/ Vanish/ Which will be your best reward/T’were better to get rid o’/ John O’Twill, then sit a-mortying/In this Half Eternity with nobody/To save the old man being hanged/In my closet for nothing/And everybody watches/When the act is done -/ Stop the murder and the suicide!/ All’s well!/ I am the Guard“ – (So that’s like a bodhisattva proclamation. So it’s proclamation. As Väinämöinen’s proclamation, that’s Kerouac’s proclamation (We’ve had Whitman’s proclamation)
Here’s a proclamation by Hart Crane – Much more strange. Does anybody know Hart Crane’s poetry at all here? (He was) an American who committed suicide jumping off the fantail of a boat coming up from Veracruz, 1931, great friend of all the intellectuals of the (19)20’s, lived in Greenwich Village. Perhaps the greatest American poet of the century in the old manner (which is to say, the classical, but he took the classical pentameter of (Percy Bysshe) Shelley to its extreme. and also to the extreme of abstraction, and yet with such solidity and intensity that it formed some kind of whirlwind of breath (like Shelley’s „Ode to the West Wind“, with which we began this class). So, having startted with gentle breath, I’m now returning to the big wind.
The poem is called „The Bridge“, which is a sort of modern epic, in which he picks up various Americanist local particulars, pays homage to (Edgar Allan) Poe, to Walt Whitman, to the Dharma Bums of his time, to the railroad track, to the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge, to the American Indians, to the mythology of the Machine Age, attempting to find a bridge between the old America known at the end of the nineteenth-century and at the time of his birth and the more craven commercial materialistic (and yet iron-shod) futurity that was prophesied by (William Carlos) Williams, (Alfred) Stieglitz, Walt Whitman and the others – cities interlaced with iron on the Plains, the Modern Age, as we know it – his little kind of cut-up, collage, section about the old winos and hobos on the railroad, called „The River“