Saturday, October 30, 2010

For the Love of Poe by Beth Caudill

October brings crisp, cool nights, black cats, and orange pumpkins. I decorate for Halloween almost as much as I decorate for Christmas. Ghosts, headless horsemen, witches and black cats haunt every flat space in the house. I’ve even been known to put up a few cottony spiderwebs.

But what I truly love about this time of year is opening the barrister bookcase and removing my old hardback copy of The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe.  Any other time I start reading Poe, my friends worry because they think he dwells too much on death.  Yes, he refers to death but his writing makes you think. There is sorrow but also a deeper more powerful feeling of hope.

Take Annabel Lee for example. While Annabel Lee was taken from the narrator…he believes in his heart that no matter what the world throws at them…their love will outlast everything. Even death.
In The Premature Burial, Poe gives examples of different conditions which have resulted in someone being buried alive. It is almost a scientific study and yet you feel the dismay and desperation of each person who wakes to find oneself entombed. And by the end of the essay you are left with the message that you can study something to death. Life needs to be lived to the fullest.
Besides the joy of reading the stories, there are other happy memories tied to this book. My Great-Aunt, a former English teacher, encouraged my love of books with gifts of Nancy Drew, Shakespeare, Alfred Hitchcock, and Edgar Allen Poe. Girl Scout campfire stories of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat. And old movies (The Masque of the Red Death, Pit and the Pendulum, and The Fall of the House of Usher) starring Vincent Price whose voice chills even at the height of day.   

Aside from the psychological thrillers, creation of the detective story with The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Poe created poetry that stays with you. Now I am not a poetry lover. I couldn’t create a limerick to save my life and I’d need to pay my kids a dime to find a rhyme. But I can remember Poe’s poems. Annabel Lee with her Kingdom by the sea, The Raven and his Nevermore, the eyes in To Helen (I saw thee once) or the sand in A Dream Within A Dream.
No matter what medium he used, Poe created images with his straight-forward, concise writing. And while many stories showcase the struggle with death, there is a spark of life – of hope in every story. Aside from Alfred Hitchcock, there is no better writer to read at Halloween. Because while we decorate with witches, vampires and black cats…our children, the future of our race, go around town with smiles and tricks for all the ghouls and ghosts out there.

Beth Caudill is the author of paranormal and fantasy romance short stories. Her last release is a werewolf novella from Whispers Publishing titled Healer’s Fate.  Please view her website for release information and excerpts.

Leave a comment and be placed in a drawing to win a Red Heart Bookmarker.


*yadkny* said...

Hi Beth!
I agree with you, Poe did create poetry that stays with you. In highschool we had to read Poe poems and to this day my sister who is a freshman this year is reading Poe.

Beth Caudill said...

yadkny - Thanks for dropping by. That is one thing about high school're either going to love an author or hate them. Glad to hear Poe is still being taught.

And I'd like to thank Paranormal Romantics for hosting a great event here today and tomorrow.

Carlie Angelus said...

Oh my, I had Tell Tale Heart on an LP back in the day. Think it was read by Vincent Price. Talk about creepy stuff!

Great blog, Beth!



I have always felt that Poe was such a sad character. He lost his love and never recovered.


Tabitha Blake said...

Poe definitely had a dark mind but he does stick with you if you have ever read anything he has wrote. Creepy stuff!

elaing8 said...

I have never read Poe**ducks** LOL
But I agree with you on Vincent Price.

Beth Caudill said...

Carlie - That would be cool to have Vincent Price read from Poe.

Loretta - True. It is sad that he had such great things to say but in life he wasn't so lucky.

Tabitha - Great stuff.

Beth Caudill said...

elaing8 - There are lots of authors I haven't read or can't get through their writing. Nothing wrong with that. Poe's not for everyone.

Carla said...

Poe had somewhat of a dark mind but his poetry definitely stays with you.

Jean P said...

I agree Poe is an acquired taste, but his writing is perfect for this time of the year, even if you just read one of his stories.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Beth Caudill said...

Carla - I think there is a bit of darkness in everyone. I'm just glad he wrote some of his down for everyone to enjoy.

Jean - Yes. I hope you have a great Halloween.

Judy said...

I have read alot of Poe, and I really enjoy it. It is eerie, but I guess I like eerie. You might not read it, but I imagine everyone has heard and knows about alot of his works!!


Maria said...

Fantastic post Beth! I love Edgar Allen Poe and have his complete works too. I love The Raven, The Tale of the TellTale many good things in it. Thanks for the post.


Linda Henderson said...

Poe did write some great stuff. What a lovely bookmark, I collect bookmarks and I'd love to add this beauty. I use my bookmarks too.

seriousreader at live dot com

Jessica Subject said...

I read all the time, but on Halloween it was always tradition in my house to watch the 'Thriller' video by Michael Jackson, in which Vincent Price's voice can be heard.

Beth Caudill said...

Judy - I love eerie too. The first books I remember reading were Mysteries. I moved to horror in college. And now I'm reading paranormal romance. I don't think I could live without a little bit of eerie in my day.

Maria - Thanks for coming by. If nothing else, I think everyone knows The Raven. But I love so many of his works.

Linda - Thanks. A friend of mine makes the bookmarks. I still use my collection I gathered growing up. Lots of Unicorns, magic and rainbows. A friend of mine makes the crystal ones I'm giving away. Good luck.

Jessica - Thriller is also a favorite of mine. I love Mr. Price's voice. I also like to watch Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia. Great music, creepy castle, and ghosts.

chelea_girl said...

People think it's strange that I like Poe. I agree, he definitely makes you think.

chelea_girl said...

lol forgot my email -


Beth Caudill said...

Chelea - Yes. I hope you have a Happy Halloween.

ladydi6497 said...

I love Poe. I think that he his an amazing storyweaver. Not far from where I live, they have 'Poe' evenings where four of his stories are told by different people. The nights sell out very fast. I wish that I could go every time but that would get very expensive.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Nancy said...

Poe...scary...'nough said. Thanks for the chills. JUST what I need on Halloween.

Lil said...

You know, I have always been hesitant to read Poe largely because of the psychological thriller horror aspect. May have to give it a try regardless.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

joder said...

As a college English major, I read tons of Poe. His writings were so suspenseful and moody. The atmosphere he created left you on the edge of your seat. He was a master and it's a shame that the few movies created from his works didn't live up to his standards.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Rae M. said...

I really like Poe myself. In fact in high school I had to memorize part of The Raven. I still remember it too!

Happy Halloween All!


kimmyl said...

Poe is definately a dark and amazing person.

Happily Halloween!!!

Annie Nicholas said...

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