Biography of Famous Alcoholic and Poet Hart Crane

About the famous American poet and alcoholic Hart Crane, about his struggle with the disease.

HART CRANE (1899-1932). American poet.

Hart Crane was the unhappy offspring of incompatible parents and he left home before finishing school. By the time he was 20--and had a job he thoroughly hated in a drugstore in Akron, O.--his poetry had begun to appear in "little" literary magazines. He left the drugstore and traveled extensively during his early 20s. "Travel," as described in his published letters, apparently meant finding a variety of places in which to get drunk. He was, however, producing poetry which received critical acclaim.

His work came to the attention of Otto Kahn, a wealthy banker and patron of the arts, who gave the 26-year-old Crane an endowment on which to live while writing poetry. Crane moved to Mexico and produced 2 volumes of poetry, White Buildings and The Bridge. His drinking, however, progressed, and he was a confirmed, hopeless alcoholic at the age of 33.

"The story of his life," wrote Brom Weber, "is a record which vibrates with an explosive terror . . . elated, wretched, violent, Rabelaisian."

Crane committed suicide at 33 by jumping overboard, while returning by ship to the U.S. from Cuba.

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