Poe was a master at creating – and building onto – an emotion… or a feeling. It seems that every word in his poems or stories add to the feeling he sets out to create. And that feeling was usually sorrow… anguish… pain… suffering… or, sometimes, madness. He was a master of dark emotions. He was, of course, meeting his market. The public, in his era, was demanding that sort of thing – ghost stories, plots of terror and madness, darkly sinister stories – and Poe supplied them masterfully.
One wonders how he might have written in a different era. There’s no doubt he was a master at using the language to create a feeling, at generating and maintaining emotions. What might he have written to generate light or noble emotions?
Ah, but then the world would probably have lost his most famous poem, the Raven, and his great stories, like “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, and – my favorite – “The Cask of Amontillado“.
The other poem we present, “Annabel Lee”, was written in 1849, the year of his death at age 40, and published posthumously. Despite the name, most people agree that Poe probably wrote this poem about his departed wife, Virginia Clemm, whom he was devoted to, and who had died of tuberculosis two years earlier.