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The Raven and Other Poems
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Short Story/Novella Collection > The Raven and Other Poems - November 2017

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message 1: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Oct 31, 2017 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Our November 2017 Short Story Read is The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 2002 featuring poems published in the 1800's, 73 pages.

There are 26 poems contained in this book as listed by Goodreads. Each poem has been linked to an on-line copy. Hopefully this will aid in the discussion, allowing members to quickly refer to a poem another member is discussing.

This is our first book of poetry, with 26 different poems our discussion method will need to be a little different. If you are going to discuss a specific poem it might be helpful to list the poem title first, prior to beginning any comment. This hopefully will make it easier for other members to refer to the poem and better understand what you’re commenting on.

Dreams --
The Lake --
Sonnet -to science --
Alone --
Introduction --
To Helen --
Israfel --
Valley of unrest --
City in the sea --
To one in paradise --
Coliseum --
Haunted palace --
Conqueror worm --
Dream-land --
Eulalie --
Raven --
["Deep in earth"] --
To M.L.S.- --
Ulalume --a ballad --
Bells --
To Helen [Whitman] --
Dream within a dream --
For Annie --
Eldorado --
To my mother --
Annabel Lee.

You can use the above links to read each poem individually. If you prefer to have Poe’s work on your personal device you can find most if not all at the below links. Audio versions of these poems can be found on YouTube and Librivox, links below, you will have to search each poem separately.

Project Guttenberg

Amazon

Librivox

YouTube

Note: Edgar Allen Poe wrote many more poems then this winning book contains. In order to keep our discussion streamlined, this thread will focus on the poems listed above.


message 2: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
This will be our first discussion of an entire book of poetry. I hope it is enjoyed.


message 3: by Pink (new) - rated it 1 star

Pink | 6554 comments Thanks for all the links above Bob :)

I'm not a fan of Poe and I struggle with poetry, so I was going to sit this one out, but, since the poems are so easily available for me to click on, I'll probably give them a try.

I've read The Raven before and thought it was okay, but I think I'd got my hopes up for something more. These will be nice to dip in and out of when I only have a few spare minutes.

I hope everyone enjoys this collection. I know we have quite a few Poe fans in our group!


message 4: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1574 comments One of my favourite poems is Annabel Lee.


message 5: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3937 comments I chose this book (because it was at my library):
Edgar Allan Poe: Poems and Poetics. Thanks for listing the poems, Bob--I think it has all of those.

I'm really looking forward to this! I watched a PBS American Masters show about Poe the other night, and I read The Raven yesterday. Can't believe I'd never read it! I really enjoyed it--the sounds especially.


message 6: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
In the course of working on this thread I have read all of the poems at least once and most I have read several times. I even printed some of the PDF versions I found so I could make notes. Poe’s vocabulary far exceeds mine and it was helpful to make notes on particular words and passages and then reread the poem.

I have never been a big fan of poetry, but I am quite enthusiastic about most of the above poems, I guess it is a result of sending so much time reading them. I still don’t think I am a convert to the genre of poetry, but with some effort perhaps I can start to read a little more.

Rosemarie, Annabel Lee is brilliant and is now one of my top three favorite poems.


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 587 comments I just read The Raven last month and have read some of Poe's other poetry in the past.

On the whole I'm not a big poetry fan, but I like his work.
I don't know that I will read all of these, but I do plan on reading at least a few of them this month.


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine | 1217 comments I have enjoyed the few of Poe's poems that I've read. I've also listened to a few performed on audio, and I love hearing the rhythm of his poetry. I will definitely try to read through the poems selected for this month. Thanks for the list and all the links, Bob! That is very helpful.


message 9: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
The Raven:
Is the title poem and is extremely well written. If you can, listen to the audio by James Earl Jones on YouTube. His voice is perfect for describing a grieving mans decent into maddened despair.

The Raven Audio by James Earl Jones


message 10: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Nov 05, 2017 06:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments Thank you, Bob, for listing the poems and creating the links. I am sure it will be helpful.

The Bells is one of my all-time favourite poems. (But honestly, I don't read that many). It is a heavily onomatopoeic poem (phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describe). There is a lot of fine insights in this wikipedia article.

One thing that isn't mentioned is there exist a recording of Basil Rathbone (yes, the Sherlock Holmes actor) reading the Bells: www.basilrathbone.net/recordings/mp3/bells.mp3 (4 minutes long).

I think The Bells is very typical Poe's style: (view spoiler)


J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments Does anyone know a good place to read a bit more background/themes/how to understand the poems...?

I have noticed these – but have not read any of it:
http://www.gradesaver.com/poes-poetry...
https://www.enotes.com/topics/edgar-a...


message 12: by Melanti (new) - added it

Melanti | 2384 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Thank you, Bob, for listing the poems and creating the links. I am sure it will be helpful.


The Bells
is one of my all-time favourite poems. (But honestly, I don't read that many). It is a he..."


I think Poe's poetry often benefits from being read aloud.

I've read the more famous of his poems, but have never read the rest. I'm looking forward to it.


message 13: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 5462 comments Mod
I'm pretty familiar with Poe's poetry, but I will enjoy discussing the poems with this group. It might take me the entire month to get through all of them.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I was considering buying the kindle book but am now thinking I will make use of all the individual poem links. Thanks for taking the time to post them, Bob! Off to read Dreams ...


message 15: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3937 comments Bob wrote: "The Raven:
Is the title poem and is extremely well written. If you can, listen to the audio by James Earl Jones on YouTube. His voice is perfect for describing a grieving mans decent into maddened ..."


What a great reading of this. Thank you, Bob.


Milena | 257 comments Listing the poems with the links was a great idea, Bob. It's like having the book at hand. Thank you! :)


message 17: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Nov 02, 2017 07:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
J_BlueFlower wrote: "The Bells
is one of my all-time favourite poems. (But honestly, I don't read that many). It is a he..."


Blueflower thanks for the extra information you posted, I’ve read through two of the links last night, very informative. I also reread The Bells and listened to the Basil Rathbone recording, it was excellent. Melanti is right there is a benefit to hearing Poe read aloud. The poem does start out cheerful, all sunshine and rainbows, then slowly turns cloudy dark and dsturbing.


message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 02, 2017 07:06AM) (new)

I read Dreams and The Lake, then transitioned to The Raven and The Bells. So far, there is an underlying theme of darkness and loneliness. If any sense of hopefulness is portrayed, it is quickly snatched away.

As Bob had mentioned before, Poe has an extensive vocabulary, so I had to look up multiple words in The Raven. The YouTube video narrated by Christopher Walken is a bit melodramatic but the timing of the reading is well done. https://youtu.be/R7G_fZYv8Mg


message 19: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3215 comments Bob wrote: "Our November 2017 Short Story Read is The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 2002 featuring poems published in the 1800's, 73 pages.

There are 26..."


Thanks for all those links Bob! That was a lot of work. I'm so glad you did it because my library didn't have this specific collection. I have a larger one including all poems and stories but this way I can pick through them.

Thanks to the rest who gave links. I listened to the audible channels version of The Raven a while back and loved it.


message 20: by Tara (new)

Tara | 8 comments I love that this reading is pre-broken into small chunks so that we can easily discuss specific parts of it. I also rarely listen to books, but I'm intrigued to find out whether those recordings will change my perception of the poetry. I imagine that such respected actors could have a take on something that I might have missed.

What do you all especially like about Annabel Lee?

And Blueflower, I'm excited to explore those links as well. Thanks for posting those.


message 21: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Nov 03, 2017 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments I am reading the complete (71 poems) Adelaide Library edition. That edition is interesting because it is chronological. Last night I randomly read a bit here and there (actually, I was to start Tamerlane but it was too long.) I read Dream within a dream . Among the new to me poems this is my favourite, especially the second verse. Very powerful – goosebumping. It hits so purely with those short lines in rhyme. Some of the poems are a bit of work to understand. This one just goes straight in.

Although the picture of grains of sand for time (and reality) is so cliché as it may be possible, Poe can stile get around using it. I am impressed!

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?


message 22: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 03, 2017 06:58AM) (new)

Tara wrote: "What do you all especially like about Annabel Lee?.."

Annabel Lee isn't one of my favorites so far, although it is simple to read in comparison to The Raven. (view spoiler)


J_BlueFlower wrote: "Although the picture of grains of sand for time (and reality) is so cliché as it may be possible, Poe can stile get around using it. I am impressed!..."

Dream Within a Dream was interesting, even with the cliché that reminded me of the Days of Our Lives soap opera theme. (No, I didn't watch it, really! :-) ) The poem made me think of how much of our own personal reality is based in our thoughts.

--------

So far, even though it is a little depressing, I like The Bells the best. It has a musical sound to it and I can almost hear the different types of bells.

I love the lines:

Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-

Also, Poe ends each stanza(?) with some variation "of the bells".
Such as: From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


message 23: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 1574 comments I like the rhythm of Annabel Lee. It has a musical cadence. And the theme is a classic one for Poe.


message 24: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "What do you all especially like about Annabel Lee?..."

Annabel Lee is far and away my favorite poem in this collection. I am unschooled in poetical terminology, so I don’t know how the poem is structured. I like how the words come together rhythmically and musically. I like the way the words ‘by the sea’ and ‘beautiful Annabel Lee’ run throughout the poem. The words seem to tie the poem together from beginning to end. I think the harder question would be what you didn’t like about the poem. My answer is nothing, it’s great.


message 25: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3215 comments I loved all these poems but my most favorite In order were:
The Raven
Dream Within a Dream
Ulalume a Ballad
Bells
Alone
Annabel Lee
Eulalie

I agree with what's been said about a Dream Within a Dream and The Raven Everyone knows but Ulalume a Ballad was so epic that I can't believe I never heard of it. I read it and then looked to see if there was a reading, it seemed to good not to have one. I found this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWEhl...

I agree that these poems are meant to be heard aloud. After reading them, I went to the Librivox readings but found them quite lacking and decided to read them out loud myself (while no one was around of course). I highly recommend doing this if you can find privacy. It's an amazing experience! I'm in love with this collection.


message 26: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
I don't know if this is a good thing or bad, but I have noticed that these poems take far less time to read than to ponder afterward.

From Sue's comment I just reread Ulalume a Ballad, it took maybe ten minutes, I'll wonder about it for the rest of the day.


message 27: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3215 comments Bob wrote: "I don't know if this is a good thing or bad, but I have noticed that these poems take far less time to read than to ponder afterward.

From Sue's comment I just reread Ulalume a Ballad, it took may..."


I think it's a great thing! These poems transcend the wonderfully eerie descriptions and beautiful rhythms to reach the depths of tortured souls.


message 28: by J_BlueFlower (last edited Nov 03, 2017 01:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments Since you all are talking about Annabel Lee I decided to dig into it to night. ….. that was.... chilling. Very Poe-like.

The first time “chilling“ we are not told what happens to her. She may still be alive as far as we know when “her highborn kinsman came … To shut her up in a sepulchre“. Buried alive? Poe-style creepy!

I can recommend the analysis on shmoop: https://www.shmoop.com/annabel-lee/st... “Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.”

One thing I total had not noticed was this: “the word he uses to describe this kinsman. He calls him "highborn" [...] If the speaker himself were "highborn" he probably wouldn't think to mention this. Since he does, it gives us a little hint of a conflict here, maybe a little bit of a Romeo and Juliet-style family feud. “

One thing I still don't understand and the shmoop-analysis don't go into

“With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me. “

Angels envy!? That is highly unusual for angels.


J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments "Annabel Lee" read by Basil Rathbone :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv9-B...


J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments From the trivia department: ""Annabel Lee" was an inspiration for Vladimir Nabokov, especially for his novel Lolita (1955), in which the narrator, as a child, falls in love with the terminally ill Annabel Leigh "in a princedom by the sea"." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annabel...


message 31: by Kathleen (last edited Nov 04, 2017 07:27AM) (new)

Kathleen | 3937 comments My thoughts so far:
The Raven--totally loved it. The sounds and the story of it.
Annabel Lee--didn't like it. It was much better in Basil Rathbone's voice though (thanks, BlueFlower!). Still, I think I'd prefer it as a song.
Dream Within a Dream--didn't care for that too much either (maybe because I did watch Days of Our Lives, Lisa!)
The Bells--My second favorite so far. I like the feeling that the lines are surprising me.

It could be that I just like Poe to stay creepy. :-)


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathleen wrote: "Dream Within a Dream--didn't care for that too much either (maybe because I did watch Days of Our Lives, Lisa!)..."

:-) It is amazing how a theme song becomes so memorable.


message 33: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Kathleen wrote: "Annabel Lee--didn't like it. It was much better in Basil Rathbone's voice though (thanks, BlueFlower!). Still, I think I'd prefer it as a song...."

Here is the song Annabel Lee

Annabel Lee -Stevie Nicks>


message 34: by Tara (new)

Tara | 8 comments In the kindle version of this publication, "Annabel Lee" is capitalized every time it appears, but on the webpage link it's not. That's strange.

Because of the links that were posted here, I read about Poe's startlingly young wife. How creepy and almost fitting with his body of work that the only portrait that exists of her was painted after her death. It was a different time then, I suppose.

I was going to write that so far the best thing about Poe's poetry is probably the extremely pleasing line rhythms, but then I read Dream within a Dream. That's my favorite so far. The way Poe uses his despair over not being able to hold on to the grains of sand to communicate his wider, all-consuming despair is moving.

As Sue suggested, I also tried reading some of these poems out loud to myself. That's a great way to experience them. They're fun to say.


message 35: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3937 comments Bob wrote: "Kathleen wrote: "Annabel Lee--didn't like it. It was much better in Basil Rathbone's voice though (thanks, BlueFlower!). Still, I think I'd prefer it as a song...."

Here is the song Annabel Lee

<..."


I like this! Thank you, Bob! Good ol' Stevie ...


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathleen wrote: "I watched a PBS American Masters show about Poe the other night, and I read The Raven yesterday. Can't believe I'd never read it! I really enjoyed it--the sounds especially.
..."


Since Kathleen was so kind to have mentioned the American Masters program on Poe (which I failed to watch or record) here is a link to the video.
http://www.pbs.org/video/edgar-allan-...
(PBS video availability expires on 11/27/17)


J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments The Lake -- Written in 1827, it is the first from the chronological list that is in the collection, we are reading.

Here are my thoughts:
(view spoiler)

What do you make from it? I am quite unsure in my analysis. (view spoiler)


message 38: by Pink (new) - rated it 1 star

Pink | 6554 comments I've read the first 8 poems and don't like any of them at all....I'll keep going


message 39: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Pink wrote: "I've read the first 8 poems and don't like any of them at all....I'll keep going"

Based on some of your past comments about Poe I'm not surprised, but your statement does make me fell lucky. I found a hand full that were really good, but I think only two or three will stick with me in the future.


message 40: by Pink (new) - rated it 1 star

Pink | 6554 comments Well, I do struggle with Poe and poetry, so this was probably always going to be a bust for me. I might find a gem in the remaining poems yet.


J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1673 comments Maybe try The Bells? To me it is a gem.


message 42: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 5462 comments Mod
I do love him, Pink, but for me it is his mastery of rhyme and meter and assonance and alliteration that make him shine. His subject matter doesn't vary enough and he can be morose and depressive if I am not in the right mood.

I haven't started reading them yet this go around. I will soon and make some specific remarks.


message 43: by Pink (new) - rated it 1 star

Pink | 6554 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Maybe try The Bells? To me it is a gem."

Hmm, that was my least favourite so far. Nevermind, we can't all like the same things!

Sara wrote: "I do love him, Pink, but for me it is his mastery of rhyme and meter and assonance and alliteration that make him shine. His subject matter doesn't vary enough and he can be morose and depressive i..."

I'm not a fan of the rhyming, it doesn't do it for me. The subject matter is okay, but I'm not finding it enjoyable to read. I'm not surprised though, as there are very few poets that I've actually enjoyed. It's still good to give it a try and push out of my comfort zone, even if it doesn't always work.


message 44: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 5462 comments Mod
I agree. I sometimes tackle genres that I know are not my favorites. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised and others I realize exactly why they aren't my favorites in the first place.


siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2054 comments I read Dreams with trepidarion as Poe writes horror? I have always been hesitant to try him.
But the poem was very good.

It was very haunting I think . In a way true too some dreams are meant to be dreams and dreams ,even daydreams or simple dreams of our heart is not always in tune with reality.In this, reading books (*read escapism here) helps one a lot.

I was inspired to try this, thanks to Sara and Pink..I thought I will try something out of my comfort zone too...
Thanks both of you... :)
And thanks Bob for the link...


message 46: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen (skipp) | 103 comments Firstly thank you so much for the resources at the beginning of this thread Bob! I don't have my copy of Poe's poems and stories with me and it's great having a link to each poem :)

I love Poe and I've read all of these before, but I'm interested to see what others think, and to give them a re-read.


message 47: by Jen (last edited Nov 05, 2017 03:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen (skipp) | 103 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Thank you, Bob, for listing the poems and creating the links. I am sure it will be helpful.


The Bells
is one of my all-time favourite poems. (But honestly, I don't read that many). It is a he..."

Thanks for sharing the Basil Rathbone link BlueFlower, will definitely give it a listen :)


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Pink and Sara- Poe is usually out of my comfort zone but I wanted to try something different, too. If not for this group, I probably would have bypassed any Poe related readings for another Autumn. Although depressing, I think his writing his okay, in small doses.

I enjoy poetry, but my limited poetry preferences are usually more upbeat or related to nature, such as some written by Mary Oliver. :-)


message 49: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 5462 comments Mod
The Raven is a favorite for me. I love the way the rhythms in the stanzas trip over your tongue. I memorized it as a teen and find I can still do several sections without a prompt.

Poe does mourning and madness perfectly, and here we have both of them entwined. (view spoiler)


message 50: by Sara, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) | 5462 comments Mod
Just read The Bells and had forgotten how Poe makes the poem itself mimic the ringing of the bells. The beginning is very light and seems to tinkle, but by the end of the poem, the bells are tolling heavily and the movement in the stanzas seems to have slowed down to their pace.

No happy man could ever have written these poems. I usually try not to read too much of an author into his work, but with Poe, every word is so personal and intimate that it is hard to imagine the poems do not reveal his very soul.


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