Complete Poetical Works by Edgar Allen Poe

edgar allen poeEvery now and then life teaches you a lesson which provides you a big step forward. It can seem so simple and straight forward that you wonder why you never thought of it before. In this case I had. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to wait until you’r ready and then the time will come.

What I’m talking about is the realisation that I was dulling my senses and my willpower with online content. The earlier in the morning I would log on, the more power I would leak and the less productive that day would be. So yesterday I decided not to log on at all. This morning it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to abstain from using it. And what happened? I read classic literature for 3 hours and actually enjoyed it. In short breaks in between I would pace around. I felt dirty, empty. Now what am I doing though? Sitting in a park actually enjoying sitting still and doing nothing. I feel completely different. Better dressed than normal by a long shot. Importantly I went out and did the thing that all of yesterday I “couldn’t do”.

It just goes to show that there are blurred lines between inner strength and intelligence. Often when one understands specifically how they’re weakening themselves, they can focus their efforts into an action with high yield results.

One simple hint, remember to smile. When you are cutting out the creature comforts that usually make you feel good inside, you probably will feel empty and have that severe countenance which can seem unfriendly.

As for Edgar Allen Poe’s writings, they are superb. Very easy on the eyes. Never have I enjoyed poetry more although that might have a lot to do with the context of my life and not the poetry itself. I found that the poems don’t flow with stopping and starting but rather flow in even time like a song and it doesn’t even matter if you tune out momentarily because you just tune back in and realise that you’re still getting it.

The writings are widely varied in style. There is prose, plays, essays and a diverse array of poetry. Some of it is (almost beyond) epic in scope and some of it is very familiar.

My expectation was that he would be very macabre, ghoulish. Once I heard that he is the founding father of the gothic or emo subcultures. The raven is probably his most famous work and that’s quite ominous but I would say that it’s by no means reflective of the rest of his body of work. He would later explain that the melancholic lamentations of a widower about their dead beloved was the single most poetic thing possible.

As someone that’s new to poetry; this was the first time I felt distinctions emerging in my understanding of it. I have a more definite image in my mind about the quality that certain poems have and I like. I used to fumble with words like mystical to describe certain stanzas of Yeats or Frost for example. Dreamlike, ancient, visual, emotive, otherworldly, mysterious, magic, pagan, gemlike – it seemed to be all of them at once. The word I was grasping at was actually: poetic. Poetic is its own quality which is all of those things and more. And I absolutely love it because it is by its nature out of grasp, subtly between the words and the soul.

Whilst admirable in quality, I found Poe’s earliest poems slightly boyish and his latest poems a bit irrelevant. My favourites tended to be ones written (I assume) in his prime years – intensely striving or romantic. Some of them I found incredibly relevant and will be memorising.

“Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem… Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.”

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