“Poetry Afternoon”

This is a Poet, a World famous Poet who died far too young, in mysterious circumstances.  His work is loved and so it should be.

Edgar Allan Poe    –    Born  –   January 19, 1809.   Boston, Massachusetts, United States.  –  Died October 7, 1849  –  aged just 40 years.  Baltimore, Maryland, United States..    –

Alma Mater   –   University of Virginia, “dropped out”.   U.S Military Academy, “expelled”.

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor and a literary critic.  Poe is best known  for his Poetry and his short stories, particularly the tales of mystery and the macabre.  He is widely regarded, and rightly so, as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole and he was one of the Country’s earliest practitioners of the short story.  Edgar Allan Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.  He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, the second Child of two Actors, his Mother the English born Actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and Actor David Poe Jr.  His Grandfather had emigrated from Cavan in Ireland to America in 1750.  His Father abandoned the family in 1810 and his Mother died the following year consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis).  Thus orphaned, the Child was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia.  Although they never formally adopted him, Poe stayed with them well into his young adulthood.  When tension developed as John Allan and Edgar repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling and the cost of secondary education for the young man.  Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money.  Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name.  It was this time that his publishing career began, albeit humbly, with ther anonymous collection of poems “Tamerlane and Other Poems” 1827 credited only to “a Bostonian”.  With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement.   However, Poe later failed as an Officer Cadet at West Point, declaring a firm wish to be a Poet and writer and he ultimately parted ways with John Allan.

He switched his focus to prose and spent several years working for literary journals and periodicals.  His work forced him to move among several Cities.  In 1835 Poe then aged just 26 obtained a License to marry  his 13 year old Cousin, Virginia Clemm.  They were married eleven years.   In January 1845 he published his poem “The Raven” to instant success.  His Wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. It is claimed she may have inspired some of his writing. For years he had been planning to produce his own journal “The Penn” later renamed “The Stylus”, though he died before it could be produced.

On October 3, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore “in great distress and in need of immediate assistance”, according to a Joseph W Walker who found him.  He was taken to the Washington Medical College where he died on Sunday October 7, 1849 at 5.00 in the morning.  Edgar Allan Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition and oddly was wearing clothes that were not part of his own.   He is said to have repeatedly called the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring.  Some sources say that Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul”.  All Medical records have been lost including his Death Certificate, intriguing.

Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”.  One theory dating from 1872 suggests that cooping was the cause of Poe’s death, a form of electoral fraud in which citizens were forced to vote for a particular candidate, sometimes leading to violence and even murder.  I have always felt he was murdered.

The day that Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in the New York Tribune signed “Ludwig”.  It was soon published throughout the Country.  The piece began “Edgar Allan Poe is dead.  He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday.  This announcement will startle many but few will be grieved by it”.  “Ludwig” was soon identified as Rufus Wilmot Griswold, an editor/critic and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842.  Griswold somehow became Poe’s literary executor and attempted to destroy his enemy’s reputation after his death.

Rufus Griswold wrote a biographical article of Poe called “Memoir of the Author” which he included in an 1850 volume of the collected works.  Griswold depicted Poe as a depraved, drunken, drug-addled madman and included Poe’s letters as evidence.  Many of his claims were either lies or distorted half-truths.  For example it is now known that Poe was not a drug addict.  Griswold’s book was denounced by those who knew Poe well, but it became a popularly accepted one.  .  This occurred in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted and in part because readers thrilled at the thought of reading works by an “evil” man.  Letters that Griswold presented as proof of his depiction of Poe were later revealed as forgeries.

There are always those people that are jealous of talent they themselves are incapable of. Vilification in Life and Vilification in Death we have seen many times of geniuses, no matter what these jealous individuals say or do, it is the public who know the truth as in others, history has proved how well loved Edgar Allan Poe is to this day.


The Poem chosen would have to be   –    “THE RAVEN”

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –

While I nodded, nearly napping.  Suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“Tis some visitor” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –

Only this and nothing more”.


Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor,

Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-

Nameless here for evermore.


And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me -filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

“Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door –

Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-

This it is and nothing more”.


Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you” – here I opened wide the door,

Darkness there and nothing more.


Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” –


Back into the Chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;

Let me see, then, what thereat is, and the mystery explore;-

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-

“Tis the wind and nothing more!”


Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven of ther saintly days of yore;

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.


Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Through thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou”, I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!-

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”


Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Through its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as “Nevermore”.


But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

Nothing farther then he uttered-not a feather then he fluttered-

Til I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before-

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”

Then the bird said “Nevermore.”


Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of “Never-nevermore.”


As this has been extremely long and there are more verses to “THE RAVEN” I will continue tomorrow, and do hope that if you have read the above and enjoyed it, you will join me tomorrow for its conclusion.  The wonderful Edgar Allan Poe and the fantastic “The Raven”.















4 thoughts on ““Poetry Afternoon”

    1. It Is incredible, very sad man don’t you think. When Jonathan came in last night I mentioned it, he absolutely adores Edgar Allan Poe’s work and reminded me I had bought him a Leather bound book of all Poe’s works last Christmas, completely forgot that. I like Schubert’s “Serenade” too. Did you get a prize from the school for reciting it.


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