Poe-tic Thoughts

I was already thinking about writing a post on an Edgar Allen Poe poem, when I saw on another blog that January 19 is Poe’s birthday.

If you were to ask me my favorite poem (not that you would), I’d probably say Annabel Lee. Wikipedia says the poem is Poe’s last complete one, published in 1849, not long after his death. I first heard it in childhood, and although I didn’t understand it till much later, I think there must have been something in the cadence which resonated with me from the first.

In 2011, the amazing, indefatigable Stevie Nicks – who turns 67 this year – set the poem to music. Initially, I was surprised by the fast, upbeat tone, but quickly loved the song and think it totally works. In my “research” for this post, I discovered that Joan Baez set Annabel Lee to music in 1967, but that version, which I’d never heard, lacks a hook and doesn’t have staying power. I also found that Alesana, a North Carolina band by way of Baltimore did a 2010 concept album, The Emptiness, based in part around Poe’s poem. Those are just a few of the works inspired by Annabel Lee.

Clearly, I have plenty of company in finding something hypnotic, beautiful, and lasting in Poe’s sad poetic tale.

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16 thoughts on “Poe-tic Thoughts

  1. vanbytheriver

    I always think of the scene in “Play Misty For Me”..the psychopath stalker who used the pseudonym Annabel and the line “And this maiden she lived with no other thought, Than to love and be loved by me”.

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  2. Jim Link

    This commentary is very interesting…..I have an aunt – may she RIP – named Annabelle, to whom I would recite Annabel Lee, which she loved. She’s not around to hear it anymore….

    Also, Vladimir Nabokov has his pedophile stalker of Lolita , Humbert Humbert, use Poe’s poem as justification for his perverted behavior. Poe’s marriage to his 13 year old cousin Virginia Clemm, modeled Humbert’s lust for Lolita, or so Humbert would have his readers believe………..

    Another weird fact – Jan19 is Janis Joplin’s birthday ,too……..a slightly different woman than the frail, pale, tubercular beauties of Poe’s imagination and actual life!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thanks for these references, Jim. I noted the Lolita connection on Wikipedia yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a literature class. I think it’s impressive though, that a poem written over 160 years ago can still inspire current artists and musicians.

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