Marianne Moore, Hart Crane, and The Wine Menagerie


This past Sunday was the birthday of Marianne Moore, a poet of some great stature in American letters. She was born in 1887, and she passed in 1972. In thinking on Marianne Moore, I of course went looking for a wine connection, in order to give myself an excuse to write a post on her. Unfortunately, she has seemingly contributed little to the poetry of wine — as far as I can tell, the only arguably relevant (and this is a stretch, believe me!) work would be a poem entitled “It Makes No Difference To Balbus Whether He Drinks Water Or Wine,” which actually doesn’t appear to be about wine at all, and in fact, in garishly modernistic fashion, it doesn’t even mention wine. It does, however, contain the following rather excellent line:

“…if you are not interested in art,
it is not necessary to say so…”


Anyhow, in continuing to think on Ms. Moore, I eventually recalled a story which occurred during her four-year tenure as editor of the very influential literary publication The Dial. While there, she was approached by the poet Hart Crane with a poem entitled “The Wine Menagerie.” She famously (or perhaps infamously, depending on your feelings for Mr. Crane’s poetry) accepted the poem, with the stipulation that she be able to edit it. And edit it she did! Crane in fact reportedly wept for hours when he read the nearly unrecognizable work that Moore had retitled as “Again.” The poem in its original form only finally appeared in the Crane collection “White Buildings.”crane_2


Anyhow, here is an excerpt from Crane’s (pardon the pun!) “heady” work:

Invariably when wine redeems the sight,
Narrowing the mustard scansions of the eyes,
A leopard ranging always in the brow
Assets a vision in the slumbering gaze.

 Then glozening decanters that reflect the street
Wear me in crescents on their bellies. Slow
Applause flows into liquid synosures:
—I am conscripted to the shadows’ glow.

I include this excerpt (and in fact, this is probably the true rationale for my post) because of the language, and specifically, the glozening decanters. I just want everyone out there to know that in our tasting room, our decanters most definitely glozen. Just in case you were worried. We’re glozening.


Categories: Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Poetry, Wine Tales

Tags: , , , , ,

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