“Poetry is a form of imaginative literary expression that makes its effectby the sound and imagery of its language (“Poetry”).” Many poets basetheir writings on their personal experiences throughout life. Some poets writeof their memories or hopes, or even dreams. Edgar Allan Poe was one of thegreatest American writers of all time. He was known as a poet and critic.
Poe isone of many authors whos life has been reflected throughout his poems andother writings. E. A. Poe was born in Boston in 1809. He was orphaned in earlychildhood.
He was raised by a businessman in England from the age of six. Hereturned to the U.S. after many years, remaining in private schools. In America,Poe dug himself into a life of alcohol and gambling. His foster father, JohnAllan, was displeased with this and forced him to work as a clerk.
Poe hated hisjob as a clerk, quit the job, and went back to Boston. This upset John Allanextremely. In Boston, Poe published his first book, Tamerland and Other Poems.He soon enlisted, and served two years in the United States Army.
Afterwards Poepublished a second volume to his book, naming it Al Aaraaf. He began reconcilingwith Allan, who got him an appointment to the U.S.
Military Academy. Poe wasaccepted but was dismissed for neglect of duty after only a short time. Allanthen disowned Poe, permanently.
A couple of years later Poes third book,Poems, was published. He moved again, now to Baltimore, where he lived with hisaunt and her eleven year-old daughter, Virginia Clemm. The next year he releasedanother book, A MS. Found in a Bottle, with this he won a writing contest.Poetry Poe became an editor shortly after the contest, he worked for SouthernLiterary Messenger. During these two years at the company he married his youngercousin, Virginia.
Viriginia became ill, and Poe moved from job to job. Aftereleven years of marriage, Virginia died and Poe himself became ill. He had adangerous addiction to liquor and drugs. These addictions are claimed to be thereason for Poes early death in 1849 (Davidson).
One of Poes greatestpoems, published only a few years before his death, was “The Raven.” Thepoem starts off with a man falling asleep, when a tapping starts at his door. Helets it go, figuring it to be a visitor, not sure if he heard it in the firstplace. He begins thinking of the woman he has lost for evermore, Lenore.Finally, he opens the door, for the tapping comes again only louder, but thereis no one there. He whispers into the darkness – Lenore? No answer. The tappingstarts again as he crawls into bed, this time the tapping is at the window.
Hegoes to it….there stands a raven. He tries to speak to it, and the Ravenresponds “Nevermore.
” He begins thinking about Lenore. As he does, the ravenseems to answer his thoughts with one word…
. “Nevermore” The bird ends upstaying even though the man pleads with him to depart. he then realized hissoul, just as the shadow on the floor, cast by the raven, shall be lifted -Nevermore! The bird seemed to torture him to the soul. This was what he neededto bring him to realize he will never be happy again, for he will mourn overLenore forever. While reading “The Raven, I had the conception of araven – the bird of ill omen – monotonously repeating the one word”Nevermore,” at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of Poetrymelancholy tone, and in length about one hundred lines,” says Young, editor ofPoetry Criticism.
Many essays have been written on the meaning of Poespoetry. In one instance it was written “here we might briefly mention thatThe Raven was more an attempt to outline Poes view of what poetryshould be and should do than it was forth right demonstration of how “TheRaven” came to be” (Kesterson 115). Only Poe himself really knows what hispoem meant. In Kestersons conclusion h e states “Thus we can see the split inPoes imaginative world: there were elements of reality, and there werefaculties of the mind or imagination (Kesterson).” Poes symbols are suchmediations such as the dramatic bird and its voice. Kestersons goes on to say”The Raven is a virtual admission of universal disparity: theimagination is lost in the shadow that lies upon the floor, while the inanimateobjects, bird and bust, stare out in triumphant rigidity (Kesterson).
” Manybelieve “The Raven” reflects on Poes own life. It was only years beforethat he had lost his dear wife, Virginia. Poe may have still been remorseful oflosing her.
The bird in the story seems to symbolize the objects in Poeslife, which torture his soul, something that may remind him of Virginia, or anobstacle in his life. The reflection of Poes life can be seen in many of hispoems and other writings. His poems are highly recommended to anyone who enjoyspoetry.
BibliographyDavidson, Edward H. Poe: A Critical Study. Cambridge: The Bolknap Press ofHarvard University Press, 1966. 84-92. Kesterson, David B.
Critics on Poe. CoralGables: Miami Press, 1973. 23 “Poe, Edgar Allan.
” Microsoft (R) Encarta (R)96 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1995. Microsoft Corporation (c) Funk & WagnallsCorporation. “Poetry.” Microsoft (R) Encarta (R) 96 Encyclopedia.
(c)1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation. (c) Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. Smith,Dave. “The Essential Poe Selected By Dave Smith.
” volume 14. New Jersey.1991.
42. Young, Robyn V. “Poetry Criticism.” volume 1. Detroit, New York:Gale Research, Inc.