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Analysis


Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

O the Ode! Thee, the most Romantic of forms! Thee, from Ancient Greece derived! Thee…Maybe we shouldn't try to write an ode to the ode: how about we just explain it. The ode is a form that origin...

Speaker

The speaker is a guy in New York who is standing with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and musing on it. At one point he positions himself "across the harbor" from the bridge. At another point he desc...

Setting

The poem is like a series of snapshots of New York City as seen from the waterfront. Each stanza is a different Polaroid (or several Polaroids), showing a new scene but ultimately revolving around...

Sound Check

Hearing this poem could be compared to a great Italian opera. Italian opera is known for being incredibly ornate, elaborate, and over-the-top (think of the Three Tenors, singers breaking glass, etc...

What's Up With the Title?

The full title is "Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge." This poem is the first of eight sections of Hart Crane's book The Bridge. "Proem" is an archaic word for "Prologue." Crane might have been interested...

Calling Card

Crane had this idea called the "logic of metaphor." It basically meant that metaphors had their own kind of logic or sense that was different from normal logic. This was almost like his insurance p...

Tough-o-Meter

If not for the talk of cars and elevators, you could be forgiven for thinking this poem was written way before the 20th century. Crane goes nuts with the fancy words, old-fashioned speech, and refe...

Trivia

The Brooklyn Bridge is known for the number of people who died during its construction. Both the architect, A.J. Roebling, and his son died from bridge-related injuries or illnesses (source).Hart C...

Steaminess Rating

PG"To Brooklyn Bridge" is like one of those movies that are "safe for all audiences," but which have raunchy jokes seemingly hidden between the lines. Well, it's not a raunchy poem, but it does mak...

Allusions

Acetylene lamps (line 22)Jewish scriptures (line 25)The Statue of Liberty (line 4)Wall Street (line 41)
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