So you can read my books

Monday, November 11, 2013

ALL I LOVED, I LOVED ALONE_for Milo James Fowler's 8th grade class

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement

Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre.

He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career

You there, young man.  Why are you staring at me so as I sit at my table in this haunted French Quarter club?

What is that? 

Your teacher has assigned you a paper on me, and you thought to get the story from the "horse's mouth" as you put it.  How flattering.

Did you know that I traveled to West Point and matriculated as a cadet on July 1, 1830?

No, young sir, matriculated does not mean I dribbled when I drank.  Matriculate is to be be enrolled at a college or university.  You probably watched that horrid Cyrus female twerk with a dwarf, did you not?

Oh, how did I get Allan as my middle name? 

Allan was the brute of a man who took me in when my mother died from consumption at the age of eleven.  He and his wife gave me the middle name "Allan" though they never adopted me.

What happened between he and I? 

He inherited money, married a younger woman, and we quarreled over the children born out of his many affairs.  He disowned me.

Was I mad? 

You should really inquire into a career in journalism, young sir.  Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence–

whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.

Was I murdered? 

How tender-hearted today's youth is.  I cannot help you there.  All I remember was that it was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood.

Did I put morals into my stories and poems?

A writer need have no care of his moral. It is there -- that is to say, it is somewhere --

and the moral and the critics can take care of themselves.

When the proper time arrives, all that the gentleman intended, and all that he did not intend, will be brought to light, in the "Dial," or the "Down-Easter,"

together with all that he ought to have intended, and the rest that he clearly meant to intend:

so that it will all come very straight in the end.

Young man, I have seen stuffed animals with eyes less glassy than yours. 

Did I get my poem and stories ideas from dreams?

Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed.

So no, I did not get my ideas from slumber. 

Poets write their dreams in the day so they do not have to dream at night.  They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.

You frown, young man.  You do not understand me?

It is more than probable that I am not understood; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey to your mind, an adequate idea of that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case,

 the powers of meditation busy and bury themselves, in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the universe.

Oh, young man, look coming our way: Alice Wentworth

You are in for a treat or perhaps she is.  You are a bit pudgy.  It must come from your joking ways.

Whether people grow fat by joking, or whether there is something in fat itself which predisposes to a joke, I have never been quite able to determine.

Yes, young sir, Alice is ghostly pale, dark of eye, and sharp of tooth. 

Keeping these impressions in view, you should be cautious in what you say before the young lady;

for I can not be sure that she is sane; and,

in fact, there is a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes which half leads me to imagine she is not.

Where are you going so fast, young man? 

You left your notes on the table.  Oh, well, Alice will have to look for finger sandwiches elsewhere.


  1. Was I mad? Was I murdered? I thought this was a great/grand post... I would have enjoyed talking to this man, I got responses I think I would have wanted.

  2. Poe is one of my idols. Fun post, Roland, replete with juicy tidbits of which I was unaware—juicy as in interesting, nothing to do with Alice.

    "He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career."

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. :)

    VR Barkowski

  3. When I discovered Edgar Allen Poe, my estimation of literature improved. I was bored until we started reading his works. I remember two: 'The Tell-tale Heart' and 'The Masque of the Red Death', they made an impression on this kid (when I was a kid). 'Annabelle Lee' was a fave too.

  4. I re-enacted "The Tell Tale Heart" in front of a bunch of 7th graders. It was so incredible. I've been a fan for so long.

    So word is, Poe died of rabies.

  5. Jeremy:
    Yes, sometimes young students ask questions that come across callous though not intended. I thought I'd include that aspect here. I'm glad you liked the responses. :-)

    I thought to entertain the students with little known facts and actual quotes from the man. I loved using him as a major character in THE RIVAL and having Alice Wentworth be the inspiration for Annabelle Lee.

    Like you, I found Poe made English class much more interesting! Alice considers it a compliment that you liked Annabelle Lee since she was the inspiration for the poem! :-)

    I've been a Poe fan, too. There are several credible theories about his death -- he lived such a sad life. :-(

    I wonder who the mysterious cloaked figure was who drank a toast of cognac, left the bottle and three roses on his grave all those years. He stopped three years ago. Another Poe mystery.

  6. The kids who picked Poe are a little freaked out by him, so this should definitely humanize their subject. Thanks, Roland!