Hart Crane’s Skygak

A strange word in Cape Hatteras, section IV of The Bridge, is Skygak:


I’m not up on the Crane scholarship and I’m sure somebody may have footnoted the word, but if the footnote exists I haven’t come across it, in Langdon Hammer’s annotated Library of America edition or anywhere else. So with apologies for any redundancy:

Mr. Skygack, from Mars (yes, with the C) was a single-panel American comic strip by A. D. Condo which was syndicated between 1907 and 1917. In each episode, the title character observes human beings doing human things and takes notes, writing from a Martian point of view. The comic alienation-effect works much as it does in Craig Raine’s “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home.” Here, for instance, Mr. Skygack encounters Hart himself on July 10, 1916, celebrating his seventeenth birthday three weeks early.




Hart Crane: Complete Poems and Selected Letters, ed. Langdon Hammer. Library of America, 2006.

Ron Miller, “Was Mr. Skygack the First Alien Character in Comics?” https://io9.gizmodo.com/was-mr-skygack-the-first-alien-character-in-comics-453576089

Selected Mr. Skygack strips, including the one copied above, are at http://www.barnaclepress.com/comic/Mr.%20Skygack%20From%20Mars/.