This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Wednesday 6 March 2024, 5.30pm to 7pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Room BS/005, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, Campus West, University of York (Map)
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Writers at York 

Francesca Bratton will read from her debut Stronger than Death: Hart Crane’s Last Year in Mexico (John Murray Originals, 2023), and will discuss her approach to life writing with Dr Nicoletta Asciuto. 

In April 1931, modernist poet Hart Crane arrived in Mexico City. Between mood swings, dire financial difficulties, and a rotating series of personal estrangements, Hart was struggling to make the parts of a fragmentary world cohere. This move to Mexico was one in a long list of attempts to find security. In just over a year he would be dead. In July 1932, Grace Crane picks up the morning paper. Scanning the headlines, she is halted on page five. Her son’s eyes stare back at her, tinted pink by the thin paper: ‘POET LOST AT SEA FROM SHIP’. Hart Crane’s death has accrued a morbid mythology, often overshadowing discussions of his work. In Stronger than Death Francesca Bratton focuses instead on Hart’s vivid life and his turbulent final year among the vibrant artistic and political communities of Mexico City. Interwoven with Hart’s story is that of his mother, exploring Grace’s lifelong frustrated creativity and, after his death, her attempts to reach him through seance. Finally, the book explores Hart’s legacy as a queer man and as a poet, informed by Francesca’s responses to his work during her own periods of mental illness. Part-memoir, part-biography, Stronger than Death is a profound and lyrical meditation on grief, mental health, enduring love and the power of poetry.

About the speaker

Francesca Bratton’s debut Stronger than Death: Hart Crane’s Last Year in Mexico (John Murray Originals was published in July 2023. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at Maynooth University, where she is working on a novel. In 2022, she received an Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award in Literature. She has taught at Durham University (where she studied for her PhD), Uppsala University, and Maynooth. Her academic book, Visionary Company: Hart Crane and Modernist Periodicals was published with EUP in 2022. Her writing has appeared in The Irish TimesPNR ReviewBlackbox ManifoldModernism/Modernity and American Literary History, among others. 


Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Hearing loop