Crapsey, whose last name is unfortunate, is know for her cinquain poetry. In the cinquain, the poem is five lines long, and the syllabic pattern runs 2-4-6-8-2. Plath's poem "Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor" is her most sophisticated, syllabic poem; though it is a far cry from the simplicity of Crapsey's cinquain.
Here is a poem by Crapsey called "The Warning":
- Just now,
- Out of the strange
- Still dust . . . as strange, as still . . .
- A white moth flew . . . Why am I grown
- So cold?
In Plath's line, grove and cold are internal slant rhymes. In Crapsey's poem, the second to last line ends with grown, which can be heard in Plath's grove. The end of Plath's "The Bee Meeting" is ominous. The next poem in her sequence, "The Arrival of the Bee Box" tells us that the bees inside are "dangerous" and the "maniacs" are "angrily clambering". Plath continues with "Stings", "The Swarm", and finally "Wintering", all of which feature flying, triumphant bees. Crapsey's flying white moth in "The Warning" leaves her feeling cold in the same way as Plath's bees do.
Plath's copy of A Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry, edited by Conrad Aiken, is held at the Lilly Library and contains two poems by Crapsey. Though "The Warning" is not included, still Crapsey may have been familiar to our favorite poet.
In 1911, Crapsey taught a course in Poetics at Smith College. But, by 1913, she fell ill and died the next year from tuberculosis. She spent the last, painful year of her life at the TB sanatorium in Saranac Lake, New York. This is very likely the same sanatorium in which Plath's boyfriend Richard Norton convalesced in the 1950s. Plath memorialized her visit to see Norton in the story "In the Mountains" (1954) and later in The Bell Jar.