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My Favorite Poets #3
Edgar Allan Poe
The final poet in my favorite poet series is a perfect choice for this season of ghosts and goblins: the master of horror himself, Edgar Allan Poe. I am a lover of horror stories and his books have always been on my list of favorites in the genre. The movie rendition of his story "The Tell-Tale Heart" still gives me the heebie-jeebies, despite knowing the whole story before I ever watched it the first time.
But, his wonderful tales are not what I am here to discuss now. I want to relate to you how much his poetry influenced me.
Poe was an extraordinary wordsmith. His command of the English language leads his readers along a path he has chosen for them to follow. He forces us to see the truth behind our emotions, makes us face their influence over our daily lives.
There are very few people who do not immediately recognize the line: "Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary". "The Raven" is definitely a signature poem written by Edgar. The main character's torturous journey of coping with his loss and grief is palpable.
Edgar Allan Poe's great love died young and is considered to be the major influence on most of his poetry. "Annabel Lee" is considered to be a tribute to her. What better way to honor the memory of lost love than to imply the reason for their passing was the Angels were jealous. I, for one, have often heard the statement, "God needed a new angel" when a loved one passed. I've even felt that way.
"A Dream Within A Dream" is the final poem I wish to mention. The lines I have found most thought-provoking are: "Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?" They remind me of the lines from Shakespeare's play "As You Like It" : "All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts".
For Poe, the words seem to impart to the reader that we are constantly shackled by our emotions and are simply being led down life's path without any chance we can alter our destiny.
Poe showed me, by his works, how to grasp the sentiments I was experiencing and put them into words. Not just the nice ones, the sparkly rainbow-colored gems, but the darkest ones. He helped me to realize everyone feels them...we are only different in how we express them...how we act on them. This freedom to accept everything has helped me to write so others might recognize their own impulses and begin to embrace them as a part of their whole.
I know that Poe rewrote many of his poems over the years. He was always trying to create the perfect piece. I too have revisited earlier works, but I find creating a new work based on the same theme to work better for me. I am a different person from when I originally wrote the poem and therefore the way I want it to sound now would not be the way I actually felt then, in my opinion. This is one area which he and I would never agree.
This concludes my series on poets. I hope you have enjoyed some of it and I have dispelled all your English teacher's rules on poetry. Everyone likes poetry, despite the fact most people deny it. You sing along with your favorite songs...poems put to music. You read every greeting card before choosing just the right one...poems celebrating daily life. A poem means exactly what YOU, the reader, think it means.
Go out and buy yourself a book of poetry, it does not need to be one of mine, although to be honest, I do wish it would be. Let your heart feel everything it is meant to feel, be all you are meant to be.
© Cindy J. Smith
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