Poe Poetry Reading Challenge: Part 1

Since it is the month of October and Halloween is around the corner, I have decided to conquer a mission for the people that decide to take on reading this lengthy post. Barnes and Noble had a particular book on sale a while ago and I thought it would be much appropriate to make posts relating to this book: “Edgar Allan Poe Complete Tales and Poems”. Poe happens to be known for his horrific, mysterious, and scary poetry throughout his lifetime. The book happens to be perfect for the spooky month of October. I am choosing to read a poem per day and to analyze the poems I read in order in the best way I can. This will be the first part of what I am calling the Poe Poetry Reading Challenge and I hope readers, poetry lovers, and people in general can enjoy my analysis attempts of Poe’s mysterious and spooky poetry.

1. O, Tempora! O, Mores!
O, Tempora! O Mores!, is about Poe staring at a portrait of a man named Pitts and ranting about how people have lost their manners. He remembered case scenarios of what the guy has done such as cheating with other ladies and chooses to mock him in a variety of ways. Overall, the poem is a bit confusing to understand, but after a few rereads, I would say it is not dry in terms of word usage to depict the imagery of the man.

2. To Margaret
To Margaret is considered a type of poem called a parodic cento because it uses phrases from other pieces of literature misquoted. Poe wrote this poem for a woman named Margaret, but he is unable to portray the beauty he sees in her with words. He finds this person to be so beautiful that to write about them is not enough to describe the beauty he sees in them. Most people find this poem to be hastily written and unfinished because it is very short, unsequential, and inaccurately sourced. This poem is very hard to understand, but he tends to make references to pieces of literature he used in the making of this writing so it starts to have an overall sense of meaning in the way he describes her beauty.

3. To Octavia
In To Octavia, Poe is referring to how even when he is around friends and having a good time, he still constantly feels his heart beating for his love named Octavia. He says that his heart might break for how much he loves Octavia and how she is capable of soothing his pain.

4. Tamerlane
Tamerlane is about a man falling in love with a woman and realizing that love and ambition have tricked him because his love for her did not matter enough with all the power she had. Poe describes a very deep love for her, but in the end, death comes and takes him because he was mixed up in love and ambition for a woman. Tamerlane is very hard to understand at first, but evidently, this is how I interpreted it.

5. Song
In Song, Poe talks about how a woman is happy in love when they are about to get married. They have this aura and look of compassion when seeing their lover as well as a genuinely happy feel that makes them blush around their significant other. This is one of the shortest poems I have seen so far in this book, but I find it to be really romantic.

6. Dreams
The poem, Dreams, basically describes how wonderful it is to have dreams. It talks about how it is great being able to imagine different scenarios and to be happy with all different types of dreams. You can imagine from your early life to long in your future in a dream. Dreams can contain hope, love, or happiness and even though they are fleeting, the speaker still appreciates dreams and their loveliness. The usage of words in this poem make me really like Dreams.

7. Spirits of the Dead
Spirits of the Dead seems to be written with the intention to imagine the scenery described in it, making it appeal very strongly to me. It talks about how in a graveyard, the spirits of the dead will arise around you and cling to you, even with the breath of God trying to push them away. I do not see a true meaning besides the possibility of learning from people before you and trying to use their knowledge for yourself, but I do not know if that is the intended meaning because the imagery appeals stronger.

8. Evening Star
Evening Star seems completely based off of imagery of someone staring up at the moon and being so in love with its beauty. They refer to the moon as the evening star who controls the things around her and brings happiness to the speaker, reminding him of the heavens with her indescribable beauty. Overall, the rhyme scheme and the imagery stand out most in this poem as well as the word usage, making it enjoyable to read.

9. Imitation
To start with, Imitation is a rather confusing poem, but the rhyme scheme makes it flow more smoothly. Poe talks about how basically his early life was not completely true because there are things that were imitated from what actually happened. It seems as if his early life was falsehood of better times and he wish he was able to stick with the idea that he has a better life, but he knows that it is not real.

10. Stanzas
Stanzas consist of different ideas flowing throughout the poem, but with the common theme that things of nature are beautiful. One of the stanzas talks about the moon and the other ones talk about things in nature generally and showing a genuine compassion about them. Some of the natural things he talks about are referred to as beautiful things given to us by God and getting to enjoy the beauty of them makes the speaker seem reflective and joyous. The word usage of this poem makes me content and so does the overall flow of the ideas in the poem.

11. A Dream
Interpreting the poem A Dream is rather hard for me to do because to me, it seems as if the speaker of the poem would rather not have dreams since they reflect on the past, but at the same time, those dreams drive him to keep going. I do like the word usage in this poem and the rhyme scheme is obvious when reading the poem, but the way it is written comes off as vague to me.

12. “The Happiest Day – The Happiest Hour”
The poem, “The Happiest Day – The Happiest Hour”, basically talks about how the speaker once knew of these times, but then power and pride overtook him. Pride and power caused him pain and dark things to happen, which destroyed his happiness. In my opinion, it is a rather haunting poem, but it makes you truly think about how destructive it can be to have too much power and pride in a person.

13. The Lake: To___
The Lake: To____ is about the speaker of the poem wanting to find a solitary place for himself and coming across the lake. When nightfall came, the lake would become more enticing to him, even though it had an aura of death to it. The speaker found the lake to be similar to the Garden of Eden when being around the lake at night because it was so beautiful and dangerous to be around it at that time. This poem has a strong aura and great imagery as well as a mysterious tone, which made me enjoy reading this poem a lot.

14. Sonnet – To Science
In the poem, Sonnet – To Science, it talks about the notion of how can science be loved with the truth of reality that it brings. It separates things from where they naturally seem to be, but yet a poet can still love it for what it is capable of doing it. In my opinion, this poem seems to be rather odd and it takes a bit of background knowledge to understand the references being made in it. So far, it happens to be one of my least favorite poems by Edgar Allan Poe.

And now, the end of the first part of the October Poe Poetry Reading Challenge has been reached. Edgar Allan Poe happens to be one of my favorite poets so I would definitely recommend you to read some of his works, now being the spookiest month of the year or just in general because his poetry leaves you astonished!

Edgar Allan Poe