Stephen Crane

Comments & Themes


    • What major themes of Crane's fiction can you find expressed in his poetry? Discuss particular poems as reflections of particular themes and compare them with his fictional works.

    • Crane's brief, gnomic poems have often been compared to Emily Dickinson's poetry, which William Dean Howells introduced him to. Discuss both the similarities and differences - in form, tone, imagery perspective and subject matter - between them.

    • In what ways does Crane's work anticipate the Imagistic poems of later figures such as Ezra Pound, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), or Amy Lowell? Is it also possible to draw parallels with William Carlos Williams' shorter "concrete" poetry?

    • Do you think "There Was a Man with a Tongue of Wood" (XVI, War Is Kind) is a reflection on Crane's own poetry? If so, then what is he saying about his poetic aspirations?

    • How would you interpret Crane's comments on his own writing in "Many Red Devils" (XLVI, The Black Riders and Other Lines).?

    • Discuss the vastly different approaches to the same theme in "Fast Rode the Knight" (VIII, War Is Kind) and "A Man Said to the Universe" (XXI, War Is Kind). Which one do you find more effective, or moving, and why?

    • Many of Crane's poems derive their strength from the power of paradox. A good example would be "A Man Feared" (LVI, The Black Riders and Other Lines). Elaborate on the terms of the paradox in this or any other of his poems.