Presentation Title

Transcendence and Bravery in a Precarious Poetic Condition: Hart Crane's Queer Bravery and Embodiment

Faculty Mentor

Steven Axelrod

Start Date

18-11-2017 9:15 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 9:30 AM

Location

15-1828

Session

Humanities 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Hart Crane’s queer embodiment is crucial in unpacking the implications of the notions of a queer artist’s existence in the modernist era. The invisibility of a queer artist is especially documented in a poet like Hart Crane, whose presence in modernist discourse is largely relegated as an auxiliary figure. However, Crane’s queerness is a critical juncture to the foundational discourses of queer American poetics. In this paper, I argue that Crane’s queer embodiment, through a constellatory examination of three Crane poems (“Praise for an Urn,” “Voyages,” and “The Broken Tower”), is expressive of a dual manifestation of bravery and transcendence. That transcendence is configured as the dual existence of optimism and pessimism, a poetic condition of difficulty in which a ‘queer bravery’ is the mechanism of engendering embodiment. Thus, I trace the poetics of difficulty by calling forth critical theorists such as Langdon Hammer and Lee Edelman in my analysis of Crane’s concerns of the queer artist. The queer artist, or queer poet, exists in a mode of embodiment that is rooted in difficulty. In the poet’s case, the ‘difficulty’ of craft is rooted in the poetics of process, a mode of poetics in which Crane rejects linearity. Through a careful of analysis of the aforementioned poems, queer embodiment engenders a queer bravery. It is precisely through the harrowing pain of the queer artist that Crane’s verse manifests the dual bravery and transcendence, particularly a queer bravery. That queer bravery is an acceptance of optimism and pessimism, in which the queer artist is faced with an embittered existence, but finds recuperation and optimism in hopelessness.

Summary of research results to be presented

An examination of what a queer bravery looks like through Hart Crane’s verse is to come to an initial introductory realization of homosexuality’s fluidity and refusal to be a fixed monolith. Despite the pessimism of the queer artist’s condition, queerness’ refusal to be a fixed denotative is the underpinnings of a queer bravery in process. This realization is brought on by calling forth Thomas Yingling’s analysis of “Voyages.” However, queer bravery cannot be manifested without the presence of a queer embodiment. The particulars of a queer embodiment is etched in the very broken-ness of a queer existence itself. For “Praise for an Urn,” Hart Carne examines the fundamental existence of a queer artist through the simultaneously metaphorical and literal focus on the fragmented and broken body of a queer artist (in this case: Ernest Nelson). With this poem as a juncture to pessimism, I argue that a confrontation of such the hopelessness of a queer artist’s condition is crucial to understanding a queer embodiment. It is the embrace of a broken condition. A close focus on pessimism then leads to the realization of queer bravery, in which that particular bravery is rooted in finding a recuperation in a broken existence. It is through “The Broken Tower” where Crane finds a way to articulate optimism and bravery. Invoking Langdon Hammer, it is the “embittered comment on the intermittency of writing,” in which Crane’s persistence in his craft is the very reason of optimism’s presence.

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Nov 18th, 9:15 AM Nov 18th, 9:30 AM

Transcendence and Bravery in a Precarious Poetic Condition: Hart Crane's Queer Bravery and Embodiment

15-1828

Hart Crane’s queer embodiment is crucial in unpacking the implications of the notions of a queer artist’s existence in the modernist era. The invisibility of a queer artist is especially documented in a poet like Hart Crane, whose presence in modernist discourse is largely relegated as an auxiliary figure. However, Crane’s queerness is a critical juncture to the foundational discourses of queer American poetics. In this paper, I argue that Crane’s queer embodiment, through a constellatory examination of three Crane poems (“Praise for an Urn,” “Voyages,” and “The Broken Tower”), is expressive of a dual manifestation of bravery and transcendence. That transcendence is configured as the dual existence of optimism and pessimism, a poetic condition of difficulty in which a ‘queer bravery’ is the mechanism of engendering embodiment. Thus, I trace the poetics of difficulty by calling forth critical theorists such as Langdon Hammer and Lee Edelman in my analysis of Crane’s concerns of the queer artist. The queer artist, or queer poet, exists in a mode of embodiment that is rooted in difficulty. In the poet’s case, the ‘difficulty’ of craft is rooted in the poetics of process, a mode of poetics in which Crane rejects linearity. Through a careful of analysis of the aforementioned poems, queer embodiment engenders a queer bravery. It is precisely through the harrowing pain of the queer artist that Crane’s verse manifests the dual bravery and transcendence, particularly a queer bravery. That queer bravery is an acceptance of optimism and pessimism, in which the queer artist is faced with an embittered existence, but finds recuperation and optimism in hopelessness.