Sunday, June 4, 2023

Harry Crosby Day!


Yes oh Yes on this day in 1898 Harry Crosby was born and Yes oh Yes we here celebrate the oh Yes quasquicentennial oh Yes of his birth and oh Yes oh Yes please do join the party!

Here is a short poem by Crosby from Transit of Venus, his fourth collection.  First published in 1928 by his and his wife Caresse’s Black Sun Press, the book was republished in 1929 and again in 1931, with a preface by T.S. Eliot, as a part of the posthumous Crosby Collected Poems.  This particular poem -- “All That Is Beautiful” -- is the third in the book.  It most definitely lives up to its title.  It is convincingly positive, a lovely love poem, and, in the end, a supremely Crosby-confident affirmation and celebration of the remarkable power of desire and passion.  So Yes oh Yes here it is for you: 

Eliot, in the preface mentioned above, asserted that Crosby’s poetry was “consistently . . . the result of an effort to record as exactly as possible to his own satisfaction a particular way of apprehending life”  and that what interested him the most was Crosby’s “search for a personal symbolism of imagery.”  If there is wisdom in these critical judgments -- and I think there is -- then “All That Is Beautiful” is a wonderful example of why that is so, and, more to the point, a most excellent example of Crosby’s wondrous way with words.  May the poem serve you well, especially today, the 125th anniversary of Crosby’s birth!

Harry Crosby, sitting in the Sun

While deep within our hearts . . . 

Strange fire growing young . . .





Bartholomew Mallio said...

Great stuff-- knew his name, but I think this is the first poem of his I have read.

Steven Fama said...

Thanks and glad to have perhaps in part provided a poem you liked. Crosby's earlier poems are more traditional in format (e.g., sonnets); those from his last year (1929) are generally more experimental (including many prose and a few dardanic poems), and sometimes have an explosive energy. There's a discussion of a few Crosby poems elsewhere on this blog, if you care to poke around.