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"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary..."

Edgar Allan Poe's legendary poem "The Raven" was first published on this date in 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror. The Poe Society of Baltimore reprints this transcript of the published poem, including the editor's remarkable description.
In our opinion, it is the most effective single example of "fugitive poetry" ever published in this country; and unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent, sustaining of imaginative lift and "pokerishness." It is one of these "dainties bred in a book" which we feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it.
As much as I love the poem, however, what really sticks to my memory is the reenactment of the poem on The Simpsons, with Bart as the raven and Homer as the tormented protagonist. Because that's what great art does - it creates other great art.

And if anyone could enlighten me on what exactly "fugitive poetry" is, I'm all ears. Google returns 131,000 hits on that term, but I still can't find a definition.

January 29, 2013 in Books | Permalink