Langdon Hammer is the Niel Gray Jr. Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Yale. His most recent book is James Merrill: Life and Art.
 (November 2017)


Inside & Underneath Words

Susan Howe, Dublin, June 2015


by Susan Howe
The poet Susan Howe is probably best known today for a book published more than thirty years ago that is not by any conventional definition a work of poetry. My Emily Dickinson (1985) is a hybrid prose work including elements of literary criticism, cultural history, personal essay, lyric rhapsody, and …


Hart Crane’s View From the Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, City, 1986

Walker Evans’s photographs of Brooklyn Bridge emphasized the lyric intimacy at the core of Hart Crane’s work by inviting the reader to look closely at the bridge from unconventional points of view. In one photograph, taken directly underneath the bridge, Evans’s lens, pointed up, turns the horizontal structure into a thrusting vertical funnel, soaring and expanding out of the frame. In another image, with the camera pointed down this time from a position somewhere midway on the span, the bridge doesn’t appear at all, just the shipping in the river below it, as if we were seeing what only the bridge sees. Evans’s photographs transfigured Brooklyn Bridge into abstract form that almost functions independently of subject matter.