Monday, October 26, 2009


"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!"

Sound familiar? Those would be the last two stanzas of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven.' I thought putting in eighteen stanzas would be just a little bit of an overkill for a post about things to quoted. "That's not a quote" you might say, "That's a monster of a poem!"

You may think that, but I happen to be able to quote it.

Back in 7th or 8th grade I think that I thought being able to quote The Raven would be something to impress people with, and I liked a good I memorized it. The whole thing. All 18 stanzas, 1,125 words, covering almost 4 pages in the poetry book in which it was found.

I am not positive as to what possessed me to wake up one day and suddenly undertake this (before then the longest thing I had memorized was 13 verses of the Bible) and I am also unsure of how I did it, but it undoubtedly helped with my memorizing skills, for a while later when I had to memorize a soliloquy that spanned a page for a Shakespearean play it was a breeze! (And while I remember the soliloquy that was my Shakespearean debut, unfortunately, I cannot recite The Raven anymore on demand; now my mind can typically recall stanzas 1-2, 6, bits of 15-17, and 18- but "merely this and nothing more.")

I could have posted any number of Poe's works for today's quote, for I love all things Poe. (No. It's not just the one raven-containing poem, but good guess.) His works are categorized in the genres of Horror or Gothic -which are not genres I am usually drawn to- but they differ from the rest; Poe's horrors focus on the human psyche, rather than the usual external things-shadows, bloodied knives in the hands of crazed killers, and bumping night noises. Reading his stories is thrilling, but your perspective changes when you look at the true pain coming from the man that wrote them. Google him. Poe wrote of torment, because Poe himself knew a life of torment. His entire life, as well as his career, was a struggle. His writing genius wasn't even fully acknowledged until after his sudden and slightly mysterious death.

I decided to do a Poe quote as it has been a Poe-filled day for me. This morning I read a short story of his (The Tell-Tale Heart- my personal favorite) for school. Tonight, I am going to see a presentation on him- complete with a fully costumed, professional Poe impressionist! (This October is celebrating Poe's 200th birthday, so the performance is some sort of tribute.)

This will be interesting. Very, very interesting. Happy Birthday, Edgar!

If photographs are captured I will be sure to post them up.


emily michael said...

It was only a matter of time before this was posted :) can't wait to hear abou the Poe guy!!!

Brick Walker said...

So is this guy gonna be drunk out of his mind? :P
Just kidding. Sounds like fun!

Kimmie said...

Hmm, hopefully you help your sweet little sister get her mind around Poe tonight.

I can just imagine the pictures you take-make sure your sister poses next to the right person...not next to someone in the audience she thinks is Poe ;-)

I learned some things about Poe from your post...good job. Not sure I ever heard you quote the whole thing. Perhaps you can brush up and give us all a show! (around the bonfire? Hey, I have a wooden raven next to the raspberry bushes, perhaps you might like to borrow it for the BIG show?

Remember, never right out of it is how you are remembered. Plus it looks bad on your Mum and Papa.

your Mama

Isabella Kiss said...

no pictures taken sadly. the place was packed with heads (the attached to people kind) and there was far to much curly gray hair in my view to take pictures of him.
but he was pretty cool. and he recited my 2 fave things (obviously the raven and the tell tale heart.) pretty schweet.


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