On Communicative Difficulty in General and “Difficult” Poetry in Particular

Allen Grossman

in True-Love

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780226309736
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309750 | DOI:
On Communicative Difficulty in General and “Difficult” Poetry in Particular

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This chapter argues that Hart Crane's “The Broken Tower”—a “difficult” poem by a “difficult” poet—theatricalizes the Babylonian primordial curse against the human empowerment that would flow from a universal language. The reconstruction of the “city and tower” of Genesis II (that is what Crane's poem narrates) is a restoration of divinely prohibited communicative universality on other (matriarchal) grounds. The difficulty of the “difficult” poem in our time both marks and also therefore maintains a divine (that is at least to say, a structurally fundamental) theologic prohibition.

Keywords: Hart Crane; Genesis II; universal language; communicative universality; theologic prohibition; poetry

Chapter.  6938 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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