Author of the Week: Edgar Allen Poe

 This week 170 years ago…   October 19, 1845 …Edgar Allen Poe published “The Raven andother poems”  and his name would live in obscurity…Nevermore…


According to The Writers’ Almanac (

He (Poe) originally intended “The Raven,” with its famous refrain of “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore,’” to be a short poem, but he kept adding to it over the course of a decade, finally finishing in late 1844, attaching the separate pages with sealing wax into a long, running scroll. The poem, about a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught man, captured the public’s imagination and Edgar Allan Poe, for a time, became the most famous writer in America, though it didn’t improve his financial situation. The 100-page volume sold for 31 cents. Poe was invited to recite the poem in dimly lit parlors, reading in an otherworldly voice that titillated the guests. The poem proved so popular that a number of parody poems were written in response, such as “The Gazelle,” “The Turkey,” and “The Pole-cat.”

Though William Butler Yeats called the poem “insincere and vulgar [...] its execution a rhythmical trick,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson dismissed it, saying, “I see nothing in it,” Poe had always intended the poem to be popular. He wrote to a friend, “To be appreciated, you must be read and these things are invariably sought after with avidity.

“Literature is the most noble of the professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path.”  ---Edgar Allen Poe