Samuel R. Delany
Historifying Marginal Practices
in Time and the Literary: Essays from the English Institute
Taking on one of the biographers of Hart Crane
As a gay man today I read this with a cold eye. As far as homosexuality not being a problem till Crane was twenty. I hear myself muttering: “A problem for whom?” Homsexuality was the greatest problem for me between the ages of ten and eighteen: once I started doing it, believe me, it became less problematic by whole orders of magnitude.
As far as Crane’s contempt for effeminate men, (which Loveman repeats later in his Conversation and Susan Slater Brown declares in Robber Rocks), the only problem with it as a blanket statement is Loveman himself. I can’t speak for Loveman’s self-presentation at age 30 or 40 (the height of his friendship with Crane), but the single time I met him, with poet and critic Hunce Voelcker, when Loveman was on the far side of 70, he was a wonderfully warm and friendly old gentleman — who looked as if he were moments from flying off through the sun-shot leaves above Greenwich Avenue on twinkle-toed slippers. And Crane had felt nothing but affection for him.
And so for day 2399