Yesterday, @danikabarker sent out a Twitter message asking people for ideas for poetry related to ghosts and the supernatural. To me, there is only one answer to a prompt like this — Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven“. The poem isn’t necessarily about ghosts but the death of Lenore and the onset of insanity shows how such things play with the mind. This poem is so powerful for me. I’ve actually purchased a copy of a book with many of Poe’s works in it. They’re not easy reads and you need to revisit it many times to understand the meaning and the genius behind these writings.
I didn’t always like Poe.
Like many high school students, I suffered through reading and regurgitating the content long enough to get a mark and move on. It wasn’t until afterwards that I fully understood what “The Raven” was all about. I bought the Alan Parson’s Project Album “Tales of Mystery and Imagination“. At this link, read about the album and you can even listen to the song streamed to your computer. It may take a couple of plays but the setting and the insanity becomes so clear with this musical interpretation. My other favourite from this album is “The Cask of Amontillado”. For me, this was such a powerful way to help understand the original work.
With apologies to Poe, while I pondered weak and weary, I remembered another interpretation. In one of its Hallowe’en specials, “The Simpsons” had included a dramatic reading of “The Raven”. Or, at least as dramatic as a combination of James Earl Jones and Bart Simpson could be. I don’t ever recall the raven saying “Eat My Shorts” in the original.
Through the wonders of modern media, we can get powerful interpretations of the original content.
The Raven – Simpsons
But a search reveals more than this interpretation. The great Vincent Price gives a full reading of the story.
The Raven- Edgar Allen Poe
Looking around YouTube, you’ll see more video and more excellent interpretation of this incredible work. I can’t help but thinking what a powerful way for students to watch and get further insights using the modern media that they find so engaging.
It’s also an opportunity to view others’ method of interpreting the original work. The next logical step for students would be to take a cell phone or an RCA Small Wonder and create their own interpretive work.
New and affordably created media can certainly be used for more than watching a cat flush a toilet. Maybe they’ll be inspired to look up the word “quaff” and use it in their daily lives?
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