I apparently ruffled a few inky feathers, not because of my hilarious send up of Poe's "Philosophy of Composition" in my previous post, "Composition of Parody," but because in the subsequent comments I implied--basically said--"The Raven" isn't very good. To paraphrase a Monty Python skit, it's a good thing I didn't mention "The Bells."
Although none of those who objected felt strongly enough to air their views on my blog--& by the way, I encourage all readers to comment, even if just to say how great my posts are--they've confronted me face-to-face with their views, though not always in so many words. Sometimes it's simply a cocked eyebrow & the once-over with a pale filmy vulture eye, questioning, badgering, insisting I explain how I dare suggest that I am superior to Poe as a poet. It's very creepy.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but the clerk at Starbucks has acted a little petulant the last few days too, so I suspect he's a "venti" Poe-ster. Nuts to him, I'm keeping my change. Also, those Dockered oafs who intentionally bumped into me with their laptops as I left, spilling my Frappuccino, let me remind those Poe-loving goons once again about the physical properties of rubber & glue.
For the record, Poe used to be my favorite poet--when I was twelve. It's easy to see why I was drawn to him as a prepubescent preteen: he's kind of a macabre Dr. Seuss, what, with his predictable rhymes, singsongy rhythms & ham-handed alliteration. If Poe were alive today, he'd be very old, but I'll bet he would have written spooky children's classics like Green Eggs & Death ("I am Son of Sam, Son of Sam I am. My dog doesn't like you, so you die. Blam! Blam!"), Manson Hears a Who, The Severed Parts of Bartholomew Cubbins & "The Cask of Amontillado."
In fact, Poe's significance as a writer is his prose, not his poetry. His eccentric, brilliant detective Auguste Dupin begat not only Sherlock Holmes, but myriad novels, movies & TV series; also, his gothic horror stories have inspired many of today's popular writers, but it's completely unfair to blame Poe for all that.
I'm not saying that he never wrote a good poem. For instance, "Sonnet: To Science," with its erratic meter, exemplifies the irrational fear of science during the Romantic age. To make it relevant to today's audience, it speaks to Republicans & the religious right, seemingly stuck in the 19th century, unable to budge from the flypaper of their antebellum views.
I'm fairly confident Poe wrote other good poems too--I mean, he probably did, right? Odds are in his favor.
(Fun fact: you can sing "Annabel Lee" to the tune of the Benny Hill theme. It's true! Try it yourself! )