My October featured article at the Firestar Press blog is the sixth article in a series about my favorite poems. I have reposted the entire article below.
Click on the poem’s titles to read the previous five articles on the Firestar Press blog, or you can search here on my website and also find them.
- Sept. 2020 – A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Aug. 2020 – Acquainted with the Night, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
- July 2020 – Invictus by William Ernest Henley
- June 2020 – Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
- May 2020 – My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke
Appropriate for October and Halloween, this month my favorite poems are by Edgar Allen Poe (b. Jan. 19, 1809 – d. Oct. 7, 1849).
I discovered Poe’s macabre stories and poetry when I was in junior high literature class. The first of his works I read was The Raven. It was Katie bar the door after that. I read everything he wrote as fast as I could. I reread his stories every few years.
Of his short stories, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Pit and the Pendulum make the hairs stand up on my arms and shivers run down my spine. Adding the campy creepiness of the Master of the Macabre Vincent Price to Poe’s works, whether reciting Poe’s poetry or as an actor in old B movies, simply increases my Poe-delight.
For good old fashioned family Halloween fun, I highly recommend watching Vincent Price in director Roger Corman’s really terrible (in a fabulously good way) movie version of The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). The entire movie is available on YouTube HERE.
I’ve memorized three of Poe’s poems: The Raven, Annabel Lee, and El Dorado. I can still recite them from memory (with a little boost on The Raven).
The Raven is a narrative poem of 18 stanzas of six lines each. It was first published in January 1845 in the New York Evening Mirror. While he made little money with this poem, it appealed to a wide audience, which made his name ‘household’ during his lifetime. To this day, it is one of the most famous poems ever written.
Here is actor Christopher Lee reciting The Raven.
Annabel Lee was published in 1849, shortly after his death. It is the last complete poem Poe wrote. The poem is not technically in ballad form, although Poe considered it a ballad. It is a poem of yearning for a lost love.
For a twist on recitation, here is Stevie Nicks singing an adaptation of Annabel Lee.
El Dorado was published in April 1849 in an issue of The Flag of Our Union, which was a weekly story paper published in Boston, Massachusetts. The poem tells the quest of a gallant knight searching for the unattainable—El Dorado. The definition of El Dorado is up to the reader (listener) to determine. El Dorado might be something tangible, spiritual, or intellectual.
Actor James Caan recites lines from El Dorado in the western movie, El Dorado (1966), with John Wayne, and Robert Mitchum. Unfortunately, this isn’t James Caan reciting, but it is a nice rendition.
Day 9 – Spooky blogging – Mary Reed Building – University of Denver (Colorado)
Until next time,
(source of information: Wikipedia)
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