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Great Gay Poets Friday! Oscar Wilde and Hart Crane



Editorial Note:

Last Friday, in honor of National Poetry Month, we began our weekly tribute to great gay poets, thanks to guest blogger Julia Garbowski. In “Celebrate National Poetry Month With Great Gay Poets!,” Julia shared two of her favorites, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. This week, Julia looks at several poems by the very well-known Oscar Wilde, and the far less well-known but highly respected Hart Crane.

National Poetry Month Continues….

It was my intention to read and find out about one or two additional gay poets this week and to rejoice in their great works.  I celebrate, but I also feel some sadness. I had been thinking about Oscar Wilde because I loved his stories as a child. I remember listening to Basil Rathbone narrating  “The Happy Prince” and others on the LP record that I played over and over.  I knew that Wilde wrote poetry and plays as well, and that he had been imprisoned for homosexuality on a charge of “indecency” from 1895-1897. Clearly the dramatic historical event of his imprisonment is a reminder of a cruelness in society.  I remember an Oscar Wilde quote:  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

La Mer (The Sea)

by Oscar Wilde

A white mist drifts across the shrouds,

A wild moon in this wintry sky

Gleams like an angry lion’s eye

Out of a mane of tawny clouds.

The muffled steersman at the wheel

Is but a shadow in the gloom; –

And in the throbbing engine-room

Leap the long rods of polished steel.

The shattered storm has left its trace

Upon this huge and heaving dome,

For the thin threads of yellow foam

Float on the waves like ravelled lace

Great English playwright, poet, and author Oscar Wilde’s life was shortened (he died three years after prison release, in 1900, age 46) by the unjust social demands of his time and country. Wilde’s prison cell number C33, was the basis for the first published poem of 20th century poet Hart Crane when Crane was a mere 17 years old.


By Hart Crane

He has woven rose-vines

About the empty heart of night,

And vented his long mellowed wines

Of dreaming on the desert white

With searing sophistry.

And he tented with far truths he would form

The transient bosoms from the thorny tree.

O Materna! to enrich thy gold head

And wavering shoulders with a new light shed

From penitence, must needs bring pain,

And with it song of minor, broken strain.

But you who hear the lamp whisper through night

Can trace paths tear-wet, and forget all blight.

Crane went on to write a very influential body of work in a very short amount of time, but never seemed to find his way in the world. He moved back and forth between Ohio and New York several times, had somewhat erratic financial support from his father, struggled with alcoholism and depression. He worked at his father’s candy factory, in advertising, and even as a secretary to a stockbroker among other things.

Like Oscar Wilde, he married and had children. He had a benefactor for a time and he even won a Guggenheim which enabled him to go to an artist colony in Mexico to write. He was attracted to sailors and supposedly was beaten after making advances to a sailor on a ship coming back from Mexico. He committed suicide by jumping off that same ship in April of 1932, age 33.

Of those that I have read so far, my favorite Hart Crane poem is “Chaplinesque” from The Bridge poems.  In it he describes a man naïve to the negative forces around him; it is a reference to Chaplin’s character the Little Tramp.


by Hart Crane

We make our meek adjustments,

Contented with such random consolations

As the wind deposits

In slithered and too ample pockets.

For we can still love the world, who find

A famished kitten on the step, and know

Recesses for it from the fury of the street,

Or warm torn elbow coverts.

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk

Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb

That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,

Facing the dull squint with what innocence

And what surprise!

And yet these fine collapses are not lies

More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;

Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.

We can evade you, and all else but the heart:

What blame to us if the heart live on.

The game enforces smirks; but we have seen

The moon in lonely alleys make

A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,

And through all sound of gaiety and quest

Have heard a kitten in the wilderness

For more see “Oscar Wilde”  by Richard Ellman (Vintage Books; 1988)

and “Voyager: A Life of Hart Crane” by John Unterecker (Farrar, Straus &Giroud; 1969)

(Images: top: Emily Dickenson, bottom: Oscar Wilde)

Julia Garbowski lives in Royal Oak, MI and has returned to writing after 25 years of running a farm and market in Door County WI. She grew up in Sag Harbor, NY. Her B.A. in Communications is from the University of Wisconsin. She belongs to the Michigan Literary Network and her twitter name is @driftnotes.

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‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson



Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

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“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:


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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats



As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

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Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

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Prosecutors Tell Trump They Have a Recording of Him and a Witness: Report



Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”

CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.

It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.

READ MORE: ‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says

According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

See the discovery form above or at this link.

Image via Shutterstock


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