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I grew up near Richmond where the Allans lived and lived near Boston where Poe was born. I have sentimental feelings for him: I have photographs of me at his and his wife's and aunt's tomb in Baltimore and his statue monument in Richmond. He was the first writer I was given to read at six years old. But what do people here truly think of his writing abilities outside of his influence and fame that came later?
There are two pieces of fiction that I've read aloud to my class over the years that have generated incredibly insightful discussion. The first is The Little Prince, for obvious reasons. The second is The Telltale Heart. It *must* be read aloud, because the sonic quality of his language is a significant part of the story's impact. The metaphor is rich and astonishingly universal for something so bizarre. My class is full of kids whose parents have never read to them and who wouldn't pick up a book except to beat someone with, but every one of them ends up seeking out more Poe.

I think it's unfortunate that he's attracted a rather disturbingly surface-level fan club, much like Sylvia Plath's; these groupies just see the darkness and think themselves enlightened. They seem to believe it justifies their view of the world as being full of nasty people who are out to get them because it just doesn't understand how deep they are.

Poe's personal life wasn't admirable, but writers are traditionally shitheads anyway, just with varying vices. I am not a Poe devotee, but his place is well-deserved in the canon.
It's hard for me to read any of his poems, yet I value them because I liked them so much when I was 11.
If there's an 11 year old girl that doesn't swoon over this it wasn't me.
Quote: From Annabel Lee:

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

To tell the truth, I may have never gotten over "Can ever dissever my soul from the soul". I still find it wonderful to say. Big Grin
It seems that for a lot of people Edgar Poe is the first and only thing they've ever read.