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Best known for his scary tales, mystery and detective stories and imaginative fantasy stories, Edgar Allan Poe was also a gifted poet. He wrote more than 70 poems and almost all of them have been widely appreciated by readers and critics alike. This collection contains some of his most famous ones, including the immortal Raven, which combines a sense of doom and nameless despair. With its ringing, alliterative and repetitive lines and strange, supernatural atmosphere, it remains one of Poe's best known and most quoted poems. Other poems in the anthology include The Bells, which was published after Poe's death. This poem is one of his most “acoustic” poems. It is divided into four parts and with each succeeding part, the sound of the bells becomes more and more sinister and gloomy. It was rejected several times by different publishers who felt that it skirted the thin line between verse and nonsense. However, in later years, composers like Rachmaninoff composed a sonata based on the poem and created a choral symphony for the bell sounds. Contemporary bands like Pink Floyd have also referenced it in their song “Time.” Ulalume is another well known Poe poem. This one again focuses on sound and was originally written as an elocution piece. Scholars have speculated that the poem's dark and dismal theme is similar to The Raven's and could be rooted in the grief that Poe felt after recently losing his beloved wife, Virginia. Ulalume is also full of classical allusions to different myths and legends. The original text of the poem contains a brilliant illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Annabel Lee is the last complete poem written by Poe. This one also speaks of loss, love and despair. To My Mother is actually written to his mother-in-law and aunt, Maria Clemm. It is sometimes entitled Sonnet to My Mother and was published as a tribute to the mother of the woman he deeply loved, his wife Virginia. Lesser known poems like The Coliseum, The Conqueror Worm, To One in Paradise, To Francis S Osgood and others form the rest of the collection along with many others. In his short but memorable life, Poe created a whole new genre of writing. He is generally acknowledged as the father of detective fiction and also of the emerging genre of sci-fi. His works have influenced studies in fields as diverse as cosmology and cryptography. His deeply unhappy childhood and subsequent violent disagreements with his adoptive parents created much sadness in his young life, but he overcame his difficulties and found himself in writing. Poe's poems must be read aloud to be completely savored and this volume would certainly provide hours of enjoyable family reading or listening!
The reader has a fine voice, but the poems need to be read with much greater emotion. Their drama and beauty gets lost in the monotone voice of the reader.