In Maurice Riordan's intro, we learn of Crane's alcoholism, paranoia, tantrums, promiscuity, and eventual suicide. As for the influences on his poetry: "He saw in the modern age a break with the values of the past, and he viewed with dismay the dominance in America of a materialist culture that betrayed its historic destiny." Riordan mentions Blake, Shelley, Keats, and Whitman as poets who influenced Crane.
The pieces that stood out to me:
There are fifteen letters Crane wrote to various people. A lot of boring content, but certain things are worth mentioning here:
In October 1921, he named some writers he liked - Poe, Whitman, Shakespeare, Dante, Donne, Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Baudelaire, etc. - and some he did not like - E. Browning, Tennyson, Byron, Teasdale, etc.
June 1922: You know I live for work - for poetry. I shall do my best work later on when I am about 35 or 40. The imagination is the only thing worth a damn.(Crane died from suicide at age 32.)
January 1923: There is no one writing in English who can command so much respect, to my mind, as Eliot.
June 1926: Rimbaud was the last great poet that our civilization will see...
March 1932: In two separate letters, he lavished praise on Mexico and wrote about how much he enjoyed (temporarily) living there.
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