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Poems Of Stephen Crane by Gerald D. McDonald
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Poems Of Stephen Crane

by Gerald D. McDonald

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Recently added bynetedt, andreablythe, kmiyake

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Stephen Crane wrote one of my all-time favorite poems, which I discovered because Stephen King quoted it in Four Past Midnight. The untitled poem goes:

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

It's a brutal and evocative poem, grim and incredibly appropriate for the beginning of a collection of Stephen King horror stories. This poem can be found in this collection.

Many of Crane's poems explore similar themes. They allegorically present lonely wanderers trudging forward to face strange encounters in an hostile world, and yet, there is a light too, for though god as presented in these poems is often uncaring or cruel, also "the voice of God whispers in the head / so softly / that the soul pauses."

It's interesting that in the forward the editor Gerald D. McDonald notes that in its original editions Crane's poetry was presented in all capital letters, whereas McDonald choose to remove this in this collection. In Crane's originals the word "GOD" would have been all caps like all the rest of the text, and therefore did not afford any special importance to the word. Whereas, McDonald's choice to upper and lowercase the text (into more proper grammatical format) means "God" is now capitalized as religion dictates it should be, which certainly changes the effect.

I wouldn't call it beautiful. Crane's poetry is terse, straightforward, and blunt rather than lyrical, and often delves into dark unpleasant realms, but it's poetry that lingers, squatting in peripheral of the mind. ( )
  andreablythe | Aug 3, 2012 |
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