Curran was a railroad telegraph operator in Zanesville, Ohio. In 1917 he printed and offered for sale 250 pamphlets of poetry. On the pamphlet cover, Curran unabashedly described himself as, "unmarried, a beginner and needs publisher." A reviewer for Reedy's Mirror, an early 20th-century literary magazine, favorably critiqued Curran's work, but noted he was "frequently repetitious."
Three years later, Curran published Second Poems of Edwin Curran, which included the poem "Manhattan." Although Curran still shows a tendency to be repetitive in the poem, he displays skillful use of alliteration, personification and figurative language.