Whaddya Know About E.A. Poe?

As you may well be aware (because of what has already appeared, or may this year yet appear,  in the news and in major essays and books),  this year marks the bicentennial birthday year of three men whose impact on culture, society, and civilization have all been so distinctive and far-reaching that today, in 2009, they are truly iconic figures.

(A “by the way” comment, which you may ignore at your leisure:  this is also the sesquicentennial  of the year 1859. At one time many years ago, I became rather fascinated by all that was being published that year in Western literature as well as the significant events taking place or about to happen.  In fact, I toyed with the idea [before more rational thought occurred] of doing my doctoral dissertation on that year, with the working title “That Wonderful Year: 1859.” One of the men named below is particularly linked to that year.)

The three men to whom I am referring are Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and Edgar Allan Poe.

I would ask you blog readers out there to focus on Mr. Poe, as he is a distinctive and significant figure in our American literature as well as to a considerable extent significant to “World Literature.”  One question you might consider replying to:  What, in spite of his profligate and short life, do we find of lasting value in Poe’s writing?  *You don’t need to mention that an NFL football team has a connection to him.

Thanks!

RJR

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14 Responses to “Whaddya Know About E.A. Poe?”

  1. Tammy Stephens Says:

    He was a wonderful poet. We studied him in high school. He was so descriptive, you could just see and feel his writing. Very brilliant! My second favorite poet. Thanks for the thread on him!

  2. Tammy Stephens Says:

    I have always wondered if his wife’s death played a part in his.

  3. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    Who knows the connection of a NFL football team to E.A.?

  4. Forest Crump Says:

    Are you familiar with the Alan Parson Project where he put many of Poe’s poems to music—interesting stuff.

    Two of my favorite Poe poems not to be confused with broke poems.

    A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow–
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand–
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep–while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    The sand creeps through his fingers and no matter how hard he tries to hold on, he cannot, no matter how much he wanted her to live, he cannot save her.

    “O God! Can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?”

    With life so transitory and nature so indifferent, he ponders reality and wonders if we are
    “But a dream within a dream?

    Sonnet – To Science by Edgar Allan Poe

    Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
    Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
    Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
    Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
    How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
    Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
    To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
    Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
    Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
    And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
    To seek a shelter in some happier star?
    Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
    The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
    The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

    Science is dull compared to the imagination of a poet, “Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?

    Poe was a tormented genius much like William Blake, they saw and felt things in ways that only a few are privileged to see and feel.

  5. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Baltimore Colts, a lost Lenore?
    Quoth the Commish, “Nevermore”.

  6. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Other than “The Raven”, I know little of his poetry. But some of his short stories were great reads for me as a dark and brooding teenager.

    There is an E. A. Poe house in Fay, but I don’t think there is any connection to the Baltimore Poe.

  7. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Marshall, That is hilarious! The lost Lenore during a trade.

  8. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Forest,
    I agree. His intelligence was scarce at that time, I think he may have felt alone. He had such passion and heart for writing, I wish he lived in our time.

  9. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Tammy: You sort of get it! But the Colts are now the Ravens.

    I really liked the short stories: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontallado (sp), The Tell-Tale Heart. I find Stephen King amateurish and boring compared to this master of suspense. JMHO.

  10. Raymond Rundus Says:

    A few, very few, comments on your comments.

    (1) I wonder who Tammy’s favorite poet is, if Poe is in second place.

    (2) Forest Grump’s sharing of some insights and two poem is interesting and enjoyable. (I need to shift my reply to his comment via E-mail to this site, or maybe I won’t. I’m thinking my left hemisphere is wearing out my right one.
    Or is it the reverse? I’ve been watching the very interesting seminar by Mr. Pinkel on PBS about the functions of the two hemispheres in our brains and why the right hemisphere, the source of concepts, designs, and so on must be a priority now and in the near future.)

    (3) The “Commish” recalls that the Colts moved to Indianapolis and kept their name and then when Baltimore reinstated their NFL franchise, “Ravens” (in honor of Baltimore native Edgar Allan Poe) became their moniker. Mr. “Commish” also reviews the usual high school readings of Poe. More advanced studies at the college/university level would probably delve into his prose writings more deeply, including his important early literary theories and criticism. And there is no obvious relationship between Poe the builder and architect in early Fayetteville and the Baltimore guy. But it is an intriguing coincidence.

    (4) Could add here that another intriguing mystery of Poe’s life is the context of his death and burial. You know doubtless the tradition followed by one unidentified admirer of Poe who, on each of his birthdays, offers on the grave (I believe I am right) a single long-stemmed ?red rose and a bottle of wine. Compare the long-term similar adulation of Rudolf Valentino whose grave also, as I recall, was for many years the site of a similar act of adulation at midnight each year.

    (5) Many, if not most, of Poe’s short poems are ideal for dramatic oral readings, complete perhaps with suitable props. His mastery of sensual imagery, especially auditory, is especially remarkable. If you know “The Bells,” you might recite it at Christmas; “Annabel Lee,” on Valentine’s Day; and “The Raven,” of course, on Halloween. Only “The Bells” would seem to suit a soprano or an alto voice, however.

    (6) Huzzah! I say again, Huzzah!

  11. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Raymond,
    I’m broken hearted, you ignore my comments! (just teasing). On your Golden Trashery blog, I posted it, lol.
    My favorite poet is Robert Frost. Simple but deep, with beauty beyond words. His words,lol. 8)
    I thought the Poe house was named after Poe the poet. 😦
    Thanks for the info!

  12. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    There are plenty of Poe’s named E. A. I went to school with 2 Poe girls whose father was Edgar Allen Poe, the mailman.

  13. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Marshall,
    That’s pretty (or Priddy) neat.

  14. Throwbacks Says:

    I’m a lover of football, just wish it was played all year round, thanks for posting such a good article. I’ll be back to read often now.
    Dave

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