This Week in Poetic History

Just for fun: we’re celebrating the lives of three poets that were changed this week in history, many years ago, and examining the curious ways one turn of events can change a legacy. Here are three world-altering events from three years in poetic history…

“The Raven” Is Born

Tenniel-TheRavenOn this day in 1845, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” one of the best-known poems in the English language, was first published. But it was no easy feat getting it into print. Poe first submitted the poem his friend and owner of Graham’s Magazine George Rex Graham, who declined. He did, however, give Poe $15 out of what could best be described as pity. The poem was eventually bought by The American Review, for $9. Still, Poe was not yet to become the household name he would shortly be; the magazine printed it under the pseudonym “Quarles.”

It was in the Evening Mirror that the poem first appeared with Poe’s name beneath it. Thanks to this publication, Edgar Allen Poe and his “Raven” achieved Read the rest of this entry »


Top Ten Literary Beers

It’s Friday! Time to kick back with a summer read, dig your toes into the sand, and crack open one of these beauties. Who said beers couldn’t be high-brow?

White Whale Ale

Yes, it is actually made with pages ripped from the seams of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Le Petit Prince (or The Little Prince)

Lament on love and loss, and forget about that self-obsessed rose already.

The Raven Special Lager

I actually had this once. Nevermore, nevermore.

Read the rest of this entry »


Quoth “The Raven”: It’s My Birthday! Poe’s Poem turns 168

raven

Yesterday marked the anniversary of  the publication Edgar Allan Poe‘s classic, creepy poem “The Raven.” Although there is some dispute, the first publication of the work is generally attributed to The New York Mirror.  The poem made Poe a star, but sadly, not a fortune.

In the poem, a raven continuously visits a man who has been unlucky in love. The object of his affections, a woman named “Lenore” has been lost to him evermore. The poem’s internal rhymes and alliteration, along with its spooky, supernatural content made its lines easy to remember and it soon became incredibly popular.

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 visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
Only this and nothing more.”

 to render it manifest that no one point in its composition is referrible [sic] either to accident or intuition — that the work proceeded, step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem.

Let us dismiss, as irrelevant to the poem per se, the circumstance — or say the necessity — which, in the first place, gave rise to the intention of composing a poem that should suit at once the popular and the critical taste.

Poe’s formula obviously worked, as it is still popular with both critics and the public alike to this day.

Feeling like you want a little fright? Take a listen to the perennially creepy Christopher Walken read the poem in its entirety:

walken_raven


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