criticism, poetry, quotes

the poet might have been eaten by a shark

In his description of [Hart] Crane’s death, [biographer Paul] Mariani was attracted to the captain’s notion that the poet might have been eaten by a shark—”Did he feel something brush his leg, the file-sharp streaking side of concentrated muscle, before the silver flash and teeth pulled him under?” This is sheer moonshine, but a biographer’s fantasies—and gruesome fantasies they are—don’t mitigate the critic’s error of fact.
[…]
I once heard an undergraduate, a stack or two over in a faceless library, say plaintively, “What are you going to do about the Jesus in my heart?” What are you going to do about the poetry in my heart? If the critic were meant to offer solace, he would have taken up a different line of work.

William Logan, “The Hart Crane Controversy,” on Poetry Magazine’s website.

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