Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keeping the Poe in Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe's 201st birthday last week was marked more by what didn't happen than by what did.  For decades a mysterious visitor has left roses and a half-drunk bottle of cognac on the writer's grave to mark the occasion.  This time, he was a no-show, leading to speculation about whether he was dead or incapacitated or what.

I figured there could be any number of reasons why he might have been unable to make it this year, and that he might be in the market for a belated birthday card to make things right with Poe.  So I came up with five possible Poe-inspired greetings that would suit the occasion, which you'll find on The Huffington Post.

To give you an idea of their tenor and tone, here's a sixth that I just made up:

I missed your big day--am I red in the face!
And so is everyone else in this place.
To honor your birthday we threw a masked ball.
It was fun, 'til the Red Death strode into the hall--
Then blood started oozing from every pore
And guests began dropping like flies to the floor
While the ebony clock tolled out our last hours.
Sure hope that your party was better than ours!
By the way: As noted previously, musician/composer Eric Woolfson created two albums of music based on Poe's works, a stage play based on his life, and described Poe as "the man whose life and works inspired me probably more than any other." Woolfson passed away in December; in January, for the first time in decades, the mysterious "Poe toaster" fails to show. I'm just saying.

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