The Bridge by Hart Crane


Hart Crane was born in 1899 in Garrettsville, Ohio. After dropping out of high school in his junior year, he left for New York City, promising his parents he would attend Columbia University later. Between 1917 and 1924, he moved back and forth between New York and Cleveland, working as an advertising copywriter and in his father's candy factory. From Crane's letters, it appears that New York was where he felt most at home and much of his poetry is set there. Crane felt a special affinity for New York City's "poetry landmark,” the Brooklyn Bridge.

 The Bridge, first published in 1930 by the Black Sun Press, is Hart Crane's only long poem. Inspired by the work of T.S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that is difficult, highly stylized, and ambitious. In The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem, in the vein of The Waste Land, to express a more optimistic view of modern, urban culture than the one that he found in Eliot's work.

This beautiful new edition of The Bridge was acquired in honor of the 50th anniversary of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State; this purchase was made possible through funds from the Baumgardner Endowment. It is an unusual format: a scroll, over fifty feet long. Handmade rice paper has been wound onto a single spool in the Chinese manner and is illustrated with original woodcuts by Joel Shapiro. It can be unrolled for viewing in segments. While on display, it will be scrolled to the next section on a regular basis.


Author/Photographer Crane, Hart, 1899-1932
Illustrator Shapiro, Joel
Publisher San Francisco: The Arion Press
Date 2017
Extent 1 scroll (35 x 1,524 cm)
Institution Kent State University
Repository Special Collections and Archives
Provenance/Collection Purchased with funding from the Robert L. Baumgardner, Sr. and Robert L. Baumgardner, Jr. Endowment in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Special Collections and Archives at Kent State University Libraries.
LC Classification Number f PS3505.R272 B7 2017
Portion Digitized Title section of scroll
Access Rights This digital object is owned by Kent State University and may be protected by U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, USC). Please include proper citation and credit for use of this item. Use in publications or productions is prohibited without written permission from Kent State University. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for more information.
Duplication Policy
DPLA Rights Statement
Format of Original book


Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus with guest contributors