Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More on Poe

In an earlier post, below, I mention that I had written a poem about the death of Edgar Allan Poe, an unsolved mystery ironically involving the inventor of mystery/detective literature. One of my poet friends, Tammy Houtz (who also inspires me to write in different poetry forms I never knew existed!) has leant me a novel that is about a young lawyer in Baltimore who is obsessed with Poe's death (he had correspondence with Poe) and desperately tries to unravel the mystery so he can clear Poe's name of the negative images that came up during the days and years after the event.
The writing is very good...the book is called "The Poe Shadow". It's by Matthew Pearl. What I really love about good fiction is that it has the ability to offer us information about our own society without the direct finger pointing that we find in political rhetoric. Apart from an fascinating exploration of the life of Poe and the 'climate' of Baltimore in the mid 1800's, we get a wealth of information on how media operates and the lengths many diverse individuals and groups are willing to go to promote and protect their own special interests.
Even if you're not a big Poe fan (and I admit that I am not an avid reader myself) this book will be fascinating and thought provoking reading.


  1. "Fate that once denied him,
    And envy that once decried him,
    And malice that belied him,
    Now cenotaph his fame..."

  2. To the dictionary for the word:cenotaph
    A monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere.
    [French cénotaphe, from Old French, from Latin cenotaphium, from Greek kenotaphion : kenos, empty + taphos, tomb.]
    Whose quote J?...or your own?

  3. Ah..the mystery of Poe...At Poe's reburial on October 1, 1875, at what is now part of University of Maryland Law School grounds, several poets were invited but only Walt Whitman came. Alfred Lord Tennyson sent the above poem which was read at the service..the mystery deepens....