Who’s That Classic Author? Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
poets.org

Hi Everyone – this post originally appeared in 2015, but I’ve spiffed it up and I’m posting it again, in case you missed it way back when!

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) was an American writer, editor and literary critic and is mostly known for his Gothic short fiction and poetry. Much of his work incorporates suspenseful themes of horror and death. He is considered the inventor of the modern detective story and a contributor to the development of science fiction. Poe was known for writing vicious reviews and made a number of enemies because of them. He died in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances, after being discovered nearly unconscious outside a bar room.

Some quick facts:

  • Poe was the second of three children.
  • His parents were traveling actors.
  • His father abandoned the family in 1810 and his mother died when Poe was three years old.
  • He was raised by John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant, and his wife Frances Allan.
  • Allan tried to make Poe into a businessman, but Poe preferred writing poetry. Their relationship had many ups and downs.
  • In 1826, Poe enrolled at University of Virginia, but left after one term due to lack of money. Allan had sent him there with less than one third of what he needed and Poe gambled to pay his debts and burned his furniture to stay warm.
  • After leaving the university, he adopted the pseudonym “Henri Le Rennet”.
  • In 1827, he published his first book of poetry, Tamerlane.
  • That same year, at age 18, he enlisted in U.S. Army under the name “Edgar A. Perry” claiming he was 22. He served for two years, became a Sergeant Major and then tried to get out of the remaining three years by confessing his real name and situation. His commanding officer said the only way Poe could leave the army was if he reconciled with his foster father. Poe reached out to Allan for help, but Allan ignored his request. Eventually, however, Allan gave in and used his influence to get Poe into West Point.
  • In 1830, Poe entered West Point and was thrown out eight months later.
  • In 1833, he moved to Baltimore where one of his short stories, “MS. Found in a Bottle” won a contest sponsored by the Saturday Visiter.
  • In 1835, Poe became an editor for Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, where his short stories were published. His boss fired him three weeks later for being drunk on the job, but he was eventually taken back and worked there until 1837.
  • Poe married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm in 1835. They had a happy marriage until her death in 1847, despite rumors of affairs.  Poe was devastated by her death and lived only two more years.

From left: Virginia Clemm, Rufus Griswold, Nancy Richmond

  • During this period, Poe became rivals with Rufus Griswold when Griswold took Poe’s place as editor (at a higher salary) of the publication, Graham’s Magazine. Poe had also written some biting reviews of Griswold’s work,  adding to the rivalry.
  • In 1845, “The Raven” was published and made Poe famous.
    In 1848, Poe met Nancy Richmond, the wife of a wealthy businessman. They had an intense, but platonic love affair.
  • In 1849, Poe was found nearly unconscious outside a bar room. He died three days later. An article from Smithsonian.com – “The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe” – explores different theories as to the cause of Poe’s death.  Poe was found outside a polling house for elections on an election night. Popular theories include being beaten, excessive alcohol consumption, rabies, poisoning, murder, and the practice of “cooping” (a type of voter fraud in which a man was kidnapped and disguised and forced to vote multiple times for a candidate, receiving alcohol after each vote).
  • After Poe’s death, Rufus Griswold wrote an unflattering obituary, and later, a memoir/biography about Poe in which he portrayed Poe as drunk and a womanizer. Ironically, the biography led to increased sales of Poe’s work.
  • Griswold died of tuberculosis in 1857. The only decorations in his room when he died were three portraits, one of himself, one of Poe and one of the American poet Frances Osgood, who had a complicated and intense relationship with Poe!

Here is a partial list of Poe’s short fiction and poetry

FICTION
“The Cask of Amontillado”
“The Pit and the Pendulum”
“The Purloined Letter”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”

POETRY
“Annabel Lee”
“Lenore”
“The Raven”

Thanks to the following websites for providing information about Poe:

The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe
Biography.com
Wikipedia article about Edgar Allan Poe
Wikipedia article about Rufus Griswold
The World of Edgar Allan Poe

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

On Books to Pen: Luann Is Lying

Hi Everyone,

If you like short, short fiction, maybe you’d like to try out Luann Is Lying over on my other blog, Books to Pen. These serial fiction posts are 250 words and are easy to follow.

You can read the latest post (Episode 5) here.

And if you want to start from the beginning, visit my Luann Is Lying page here.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading Luann Is Lying. If you’d like to follow this story and other creative writing posts, you can subscribe to Books to Pen here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Books to Pen – Book Club Mom’s creative writing blog

Hi Everyone,

I just launched a new blog called Books to Pen, dedicated to my creative writing efforts. I posted my first piece of short fiction which you can find here. I hope you will take a look. Feedback is welcome!

https://bookstopen.wordpress.com


Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then here come the holidays! There are always new memories to make during this season and throughout the year, but the old ones are golden. Here’s one of my small memories of a bracelet my mother always wore when she dressed up for holidays.


Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Dairy Queen with my father

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

“I can help you with that,” my Dad offered. I was sitting on a bench, eating a Dairy Queen cone. I had just taken a small lick, the vanilla swirl still nearly perfectly perched on the cone. Dad was sitting next to me. It was hot outside, but not as hot as it had been in our station wagon that summer afternoon. Even with the windows down and the air blowing through the car, the backs of my legs still stuck to the seat and I was much happier sitting on the bench with my cone.

We had been returning from the shore that day, going home the “old way” where there were plenty of places to stop when Dad pulled us into Dairy Queen for an ice cream break.

Dad already had a cone and I think he was just trying to help me from losing my whole tower of ice cream in the hot sun. There were good-natured jokes in our family about Dad helping us with our ice cream, to look out when he offered to help, but I’m sure he was just trying to keep mine off the steamy sidewalk.

I thought I had my cone pretty much under control. I had turned it in my hand to look for drips around the base and was ready to lick away any trouble spots. I was deciding in my mind how I would eat this cone. Slowly, I thought.  I loved the cool creamy feel of the ice cream on my tongue.

“I think it’s starting to drip, Honey.” Dad again. I didn’t see any drips, but I was only five years old and maybe he saw something I didn’t. “Here, let me help you before you lose the whole cone.” He reached over to me and I gave him the cone and watched him take a healthy bite off the top of my vanilla tower. I felt a little sad as I saw the top section of the ice cream disappear. I think he must have liked being a dad on this hot sunny day. I didn’t mind too much because I had two sections left and he was taking care of me.

Happy Father’s Day! Do you have special memories of your father?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

Who’s That Indie Author? Frank Prem

Author name:  Frank Prem

Genre:  Free Verse Poetry/Memoir

Books:  Devil In The Wind (2019); Small Town Kid (2018)

What’s your story and how did you become a writer?  I’ve been a prolific free verse poet for over 40 years now. Mainly keeping my work low key and developing skills and a kind of back catalogue of completed work. I’ve started to draw on that work now as I move in to presenting myself to the public in book form.

My professional career has been as a Psychiatric Nurse, which I’ve also been doing for 40 odd years, now. In that role, I have spanned the days of the old mental asylum, which I grew up with in my town, through student nursing for three years and a range of clinical experiences at different facilities around my state (Victoria, Australia). My current plan is to have a third memoir style collection of poems focusing on my experience of psychiatry in book form by the end of 2019, or early in 2020.

I started writing way back, when I was in high school. I discovered then that my teacher was so impressed that a student had attempted poetry that I was given credit even though my essay submission was a few hundred words short of requirements. I figured there was something very ‘right’ about that, and I’ve been a poet ever since.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I’m not entirely sure that I do achieve balance in this respect. In my professional career I was always charging at my next objective as though NOW was the only possible moment in universal history to achieve it.

I am like that with my writing as well. I chase my fads with a singlemindedness that leaves other routine or mundane considerations behind.

It’s not necessarily a great trait to have and I need to constantly remind myself (or have others do it for me) to give attention to the other important things in my life that aren’t the passion of the moment.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  There are a few big moments across a life such as I’ve had, but the memory that comes to mind is from about 15 years ago. At the time I was courting a lady considerably younger than myself and had all the doubts that you might expect an old-ster (as I saw myself) having.

The memory is of the lady in question – a talented singer/songwriter – turning up to one of our earliest get togethers bearing a cassette tape, on which she had taped herself playing and singing a song that she’d created from one of my poems.

That was a very big moment.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I am a ‘pantser,’ in every respect.

Why plan, when you can write? Why trouble to create a story arc and plot, when the next thing you write is the next thing in the sequence?

Creatively delightful, but tricky as I’ve had to transmogrify myself from simple writer into author, editor, publisher and self-publicist.

Very tricky.

Can or could you write in a café with people around?  Yes I can.

The likelihood is that the people in the café will become the subjects that I write about.

In all seriousness, I find I can tune out most distractions when I have something to write, and on occasion, at least, the atmosphere in a busy café is positively stimulating.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  I have indeed, and have even had the privilege of being published in another country (that being the USA) with a poem using that ‘voice.’

My family was originally from Croatia in what was then Yugoslavia. I grew up with the Croatian language all around me and for a period in my writing evolution I wrote in pidgin language that is half Australian English and half Croatian.

This may sound a little arty-odd, but when I’m writing I have made it my practice to allow the idea I’m pursuing or the image I am contemplating to find its own voice and tell its own story. My job is to steer it so that it remains coherent and meaningful for a reader. In the case of the Croatian voice, I had enough familiarity with the idiom and vernacular and with the way this particular migrant population was likely to think to be able to shape poems in a reasonably accurate representation.

Quite a task, and not always successful, but completely unique when it worked.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  For a favorite book, I draw on my ‘go to’ library here at home, which includes Tolkien, Le Guin, Robin Hobb, and Mathew Reilly, to name a few.

I’m currently re-reading a Mather Reilly book – Ice Station, but I’d probably have to nominate Tolkien and Lord of the Rings as my favorite because of the inspiration and pleasure they have given me over the journey.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  Paperback, for me. Hard cover is fine, too, but I really struggle with the electronic book forms. I think it may be because I sweat over the keyboard for as much as 12 hours a day, and the idea of reading for pleasure electronically just doesn’t feel right.

Do you think print books will always be around?  I’m a print book guy who is only now discovering electronic forms with any purpose, so I say yes.

If you ask me in a few years’ time, when I’m perhaps scratching a living out an e-book readership, I may give a different response.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  Yes. I do that now, when I need to, and reluctantly. I don’t own an e-reader.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  I have an Android device. The first I have owned and I fell in love with its picture taking capacities long before I began using it as a phone.

I have begun to make something of an art out of writing to the image and letting the image communicate its own story without too much control from myself. The Android device has been quite material in allowing me to develop a new capacity within my writing skillset.

How long could you go without checking your phone?  I check it frequently. Not for the phone, but for the email and the social media that I might be working with. Looking for responses to my latest posting of a poem on my blog.

I’ve become a bit of a junkie in that respect.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  I have listened to audio books when traveling. Usually something from The Great Course range of educational materials, rather than novels.

I am very interested in perhaps creating my own audio books in future and have done a number of amateur audio recordings and podcasts and radio interviews, all of which are accessible from my Author page on the web.

I enjoy reading to live audiences very much.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  The only reason I use Social media is to pursue connections regarding writing and publishing and promotion of my work. It is a critical element in the pursuit of free publicity and promotion of new works.

The tricky bit is how to make contact with an audience that isn’t myself in disguise i.e. another author, pursuing the same goals and objectives that I am (only maybe better and smarter than me).

What I enjoy most is contact with genuine readers who might be curious about what I’ve done, why and how and so on.

That, I enjoy very much.

Website and social media links:
Website: frankprem.com
Daily Poetry Blog: frankprem.wordpress.com
Facebook: FrankPrem11 and @frankprem2
Twitter: @frank_prem

Awards/special recognition:  No Awards for a number of years – I stopped seeking them a long time back. Book reviews at Goodreads are worth a look, though. Try these: Small Town Kid and Devil In The Wind.


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? H. W. Bryce

Author Name: H. W. Bryce

Genre:  Poetry

Book:  Chasing a Butterfly: A journey in poems of love and loss to acceptance

What’s your story and how did you become a writer?  I wrote a Roy Rogers story in Grade 7, and I have been writing off and on since then. While at university, I wrote lyrics and posted them to song magazines. Over the years I entered poetry and story contests.

But the impetus for my current writing was when my wife contracted Alzheimer’s, and I was sinking deep into depression. It was poetry that saved me.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I reserve my mornings for my writing. The afternoon is often taken up with business; sometimes appointments, etc. For the most part, this works very well.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  Both. Often, once I get started, I just forge on. Sometimes a poem will practically form itself and come fairly easily.

Sometimes the poem fights me, and I have to “resort” to planning. Occasionally I try to plan it out first – especially when doing formal poetry with a set rhyme and line scheme.

What’s your working style – morning or late-night writer?  As noted, morning person.

Do you work at a computer or write long-hand?  Mostly I work on my laptop, but I keep a notebook and pen in my pocket at all times. Many, many of my notes become poems.

What gets those words flowing, coffee or tea?  The coffee and tea often serve as thinking time as I write.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  A top fave is still any Philip Marlowe book. The Little Sister movie WAS the book, it followed it so closely. Humphrey Bogart, top of my fave actors.  Storytelling at its best.

I have been reviewing Keats and Tennyson lately, and reading a whole lot of local area poets, many of whom are really good – two of them are laureates, one of them retired.

What shows do you watch?  I watch a lot of British and American mysteries; some nature programs, travel documentaries. I love human interest movies.

Favorite movie:  Probably Casablanca. It has everything, including love lost and found and lost and accepted.

Favorite musician:  Dave Brubeck; also, the Gershwins

Links:
Website: hwbrycewrites.com
Facebook: herb.w.bryce and @ChasingaButterflywithAnn

Awards/special recognition:  I have several certificates of honour for my poetry, a number of poetry competition wins, etc., such as invitations from abroad to appear in their anthologies.


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Friday Fiction – “Buddies”


It’s been a while since I’ve posted some fiction. Here’s a little story about summer love!


Buddies

She rode on the back of his bike.  She was shy about putting her arms around his waist, but she did it anyway.  She had a reason now to do so.  Her bare legs dangled, no place to go, on either side of the bike.  She gripped her toes into her flip-flops, those too were dangling.

She could smell the shampoo from his hair, the back of his head was so close to her face.  It was like sneaking a look at him, and even if it was not his face, it was still part of him.  She’d take it.

She wondered what he was thinking, having her riding behind him like that.  They were just buddies, after all.  That is what they officially called each other.  But they often put their arms around each other.  It was safe to do that, she thought, maybe he did too.  They were practicing with one another, as buddies.  Buddies.  It didn’t really fit to call themselves that.  Good friends.  They could use that, but they didn’t.  He’s the one who came up with buddies.

“We’re just buddies, you and I, right?” he asked her one day.

They had been sitting on a log in the parking lot.  It was one of those logs, an old telephone pole they used at the shore to divide the ground into sections for parking on the loose stones that were everywhere.  Stones that were used for driveways, whole front yards and back yards, in fact, and here in the parking lot.

Those stones had been caught in her sandals and she had pulled them off and was shaking them out when he started talking.

“Of course we’re buddies, Benny” she answered.  “The best kind.”

“You know, Kate, people have started to talk about us and all the time we spend together.  They’re starting to think we’re more than just friends.”

The stones were all out of Kate’s sandals, but she shook them some more, for something to do.  Kate was fifteen and she knew almost nothing about boys, besides this one.  Benny was a year younger, still skinny and gangly.  She laughed with him.  She was comfortable with him.

Kate felt a pang inside, a kind of hurt and foolishness she knew she couldn’t show to Benny, of all people.  She wanted him to like her, to be more than her friend, but Kate pretended as she spoke, “Well, Benny.  We are a little more than friends.  I’d say we are very good friends, wouldn’t you?”  There, she gave him an out, even though she didn’t want him to take it.

“We are, Kate, but that’s it.”

It stung her, but she took it.  That’s all she could do.  In the time it took for Benny to say this to her, she thought to herself.  What did she want, anyway?  She didn’t know how to have a boyfriend, she reasoned, so what did it matter if this was all he wanted?

Maybe she wasn’t ready either.  She didn’t think about kissing him.  She just liked being near him, laughing with him.

So as they rode up the street on his bike, she still held onto him from the back, smelling his shampoo and she thought about the day Benny had officially labeled her as his buddy.  Kate wasn’t the conniving type.  She truly thought that if she was nice, good things would come to her.  It didn’t occur to Kate, at the age of fifteen, that, if she wanted something, she should go and do something about it.

She was too embarrassed to show she was hurt.  And she liked Benny too much to push him away.  They had half the summer ahead of them.  They had that, she told herself.  Half a summer left to be near this boy, okay buddy, she corrected herself.  And suddenly she was happy for what she had, someone who made her feel happy and warm when he was near.

And there was Benny, who to anyone who took the time to see, was exactly what Kate had hoped he would be.  But Benny was also shy about girls.  So he did the only thing he could do and that was to be buddies with the girl he liked best, secretly hoping himself that somehow, in some way, the two of them “just friends” would someday cross over and become exactly what Kate had wished for.  And he steered his bike, feeling Kate’s arms around him, feeling her breath on his neck, and he too was happy for what he had.

Thank you for reading.


Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

I knew more than Mom in the Mother’s Day Race

Honor our mothers, who know better than us, but let us believe in ourselves. Thanks Mom!

Book Club Mom

Mom - race

The only thing I knew that summer day was that I was right and Mom was wrong.  We sat stalled in my Pram sailboat, and felt the waves and chop slap against the flat front of the boat and push us backwards.  And when the wind picked up, we watched in helpless frustration as the mothers in charge of the other boats sailed past us, as if they knew exactly what they were doing and we did not.  It was the day of the Mother’s Day Race and Mom and I had been winning.  Our lead had been huge, almost an entire leg of the race course.  But something had happened.

It was one of those awkward times when, with no graceful transition, the child, with puffed up confidence, seems to know more than the parent.  I was eleven and I was sure I knew everything about how to win…

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