Douglas Crase

Douglas Crase

Douglas Crase is known for a single book of poems, The Revisionist.

Born in 1944, Crase grew up on a farm in Michigan, went to Princeton, and planned a career in law. In response to the political turmoil of 1968 he abandoned law school to write the report of the Political Reform Commission of the Michigan Democratic Party. He subsequently served as speechwriter to the Democratic candidate for governor of the state.

As noted in The Oxford Book of American Poetry, he is the Doug in James Schuyler's poem Dining Out with Doug and Frank. For many years he earned a living as a free-lance speechwriter for Eastman Kodak, General Electric, and other corporations. The poems he wrote at the time are informed, according to the Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets, by an "interest in rhetoric" not traditionally associated with poets of that school. When The Revisionist appeared in 1981 its unusual rhetorical address was widely recognized.

Crase followed The Revisionist with essays on favorite writers, including Emerson, Ashbery, and Niedecker. His commonplace book, Amerifil.txt, was published in 1996 and became an example of possibilities in the form. Likewise unusual was Both, his dual biography of artist Dwight Ripley and botanist Rupert Barneby, lifelong partners whose rediscovered story sheds new light on the mid-century art scene in New York.

On his departure from law school Crase was called to the dean's office for an explanation. When he remarked that his classes were boring the dean countered, "My son, ninety per cent of life is boring." Since that interview, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship for his work. Committed to the city - he was for three years a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities – he also makes time for a mountain stream in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Books by Douglas Crase