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On Autumn Lake

The Collected Essays


Crase is that rare figure in American letters: a subversive who challenges the received wisdom promulgated in English and American literature departments from sea to shining sea. The entire body of his work invites the kind of close attention that is usually reserved for poetry.

— John Yau, Hyperallergic

  • includes an early introduction of the author’s friend John Ashbery
  • a memoir of the author’s friendship with James Schuyler, judged “the best single essay on Schuyler I know” by Richard Howard in the New York Times
  • an outsider's introduction to Emerson written originally for the Library of America
  • a revisionist history of the New York School (“fine and gossipy,” wrote Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker)
  • a long essay on Niedecker and the evolutional sublime (“magisterial” according to Barry Schwabsky at Hyperallergic, “marvelous” notes Laura Sims at Coldfront)
  • and an afterword to the poems of Donald Britton described by Kevin Killian as “a beautiful portrait of Britton as a prism for his time” and by Schwabsky at Hyperallergic as “a fiercely searching critical overview of the New York poetry world of the 1980s.”

Gracefully wrought essays imbued with a rare intimacy.

– Kirkus, starred review


His essays, like his poems, seek embodiment as persuasion by remaining open to conviction—and to the ways in which conviction consorts with desire.

–Matthew Bevis, London Review of Books