Poems from the Greenberg Manuscript
Poetry by Samuel Greenberg
Edited by James Laughlin
With a contribution by Garrett Caples
“Who was Samuel Greenberg?” editor Garrett Caples asks: “The short answer is ‘the dead, unknown poet Hart Crane plagiarized.’” In the winter of 1923, Crane was given some of Greenberg’s notebooks and called him “a Rimbaud in embryo.” Crane included many of Greenberg’s lines, uncredited and slightly changed, in his own poetry. Poems from the Greenberg Manuscript was edited by James Laughlin, who first published it in 1939. As well as Laughlin’s original essay, Caples includes a new selection of poems from Greenberg’s notebooks, along with some of his prose. Now the work of this mysterious, impoverished, proto-surrealist American poet, who never published a word in his life, is available to a new generation of readers.
Samuel Bernard Greenberg (1893–1917) was born in the Jewish ghetto in Vienna and settled with his family in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at age seven. He contracted tuberculosis and died at twenty-three. Garrett Caples is the author of several books and edits the Spotlight Poetry Series at City Lights Books.