Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6: West Point's Outcast, America's First Great Poet (Vol. 42, pp. 1227-1230)

On this day in 1831, Edgar Allen Poe got booted out of West Point. To commemorate the occasion, the editors select "The Raven" for today's reading.

They call it a poem of "weirdness and despair" that is "particularly symbolic of his life." Maybe it's because this is not one of those poems about daffodils or Grecian urns or unrequited love that is the norm for 18th and 19th century poetry. "The Raven" is weirdness and despair in all its glory, topics that didn't get addressed in poetry until Mr. Poe came along.

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