The first poem that I ever memorized was “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe. That, combined with my early fascination with the macabre, led me to connect with Poe’s works. This is why I felt a pang of sadness when I read that the “Poe Toaster,” the mysterious person who showed up at Poe’s grave each year on Poe’s birthday, failed to appear for the third year, marking the end of a tradition that is believed to have started in the 1940s.
I suspect that there are many people out there who, like myself, first experienced a connection with poetry through Poe’s works. I have often wondered why that is. I suspect that it is because his poems are both accessible and reflect the dark side of human nature, which resonates strongly in angst-filled youth. When you read one of Poe’s great poems, it triggers an emotional response. Also, there is no need for a scholar or professor to interpret the meaning of the poem. When you read it, you get it, regardless of your literary background.
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