Friday, May 24, 2013

A Lively Conversation with a Dead Guy

*I came upon this idea while reading Poe's work The Poetic Principle.  I found myself arguing with him on certain points in spite of my respect for his poetic talent and wanted to do something creative with these thoughts.  

Michelle: Welcome to our show here on MVSB radio, and a very fond welcome to our guest this evening, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.  Very glad to meet you,  Mr. Poe.

Poe: Very gratified to be here. Thank you for having me.

Michelle: Mr. Poe, your work has livened the imagination of generations of Americans and Europeans alike.  Your name has, since your death, become a household word and an icon in many respects and I can't help but wonder as to your secret to such inventive and beautiful poetry.  Furthermore...ummm...Mr. Poe, is that an ear you have hanging around your neck?

Poe: Hmm?  Oh, yes.  Ol' Vincent let me have his other one.  It's something of a good luck charm.

Michelle: Turns a little green, but smiles.  Of course.  You and Van Gogh must have much in common.

Poe:   Absolutely.  Leans back in his chair.  In fact, we have a mutual understanding which refers back to your interest in my secret to beautiful poetry.  No secret, really.  A person would have to devote himself to beauty and hold that as the most important principle in order to really write a poem.  

Michelle: Surely poems exist when the poet has not held this philosophy.  You do not consider these works legitimate poetry?

Poe: No.  Neither is there such thing as a long poem.  Poems must be short in order to be real poems, and to create the fire within a reader that real poetry excites.

Michelle: Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the most famous poems -

Poe: Don't even get me started.  Paradise Lost isn't a real poem by any stretch.  There are some passages that are very beautiful and moving but you cannot take the whole in one sitting and be moved by it.  It is a conglomeration of many poems together.  It's the same with the Iliad.  Don't tell me that people actually sat down and listened to the whole thing at once - it must be read piece by piece, and that doesn't make the whole epic a true poem.  But Milton has a worse vice in writing about Biblical themes in the way he does. He - but have I upset you?

Michelle(Swallowing hard but smiling.)  No sir, it's just that (points)...Your entrails, sir, they're seeping out of your ribs. (Takes a deep breath).  No matter.  You were saying?

Poe: Ah, yes.  That does happen from time to time.  But Milton has this inexcusable habit of attempting to combine truth and poetry.  The two cannot happily coexist.  Poetry is about feeling and to tell the truth requires being clear, brief and terse. 

Michelle: I assume then, that the reason your poems are so resonating in the sense of beauty is because you purposefully exclude truth.  You are indeed therefore a master of immediate gratification, which is why your poetry creates such fire in the hearts of those that read it, but inspires critical judgement due to the topics you choose.

Poe: If truth happens to walk into the poem, then fine.  But my purpose, and the purpose of any poem, is to enlighten the soul and cause it to feel. 

Michelle: Well, Mr. Poe, we are about out of time, but I wanted to let you know of a project I have in mind due to your extremely compelling style and talent.

Poe: Smiling.  Do tell.

Michelle:  I am going to attempt to learn your technique and employ it to a heavenly purpose.  I am going to try to marry the passion of poetry and the truth of God.

Poe: Chuckling. Well, good luck.  That's about all I can say. 

They shake hands.  Poe rises from the table and turns to leave.

Michelle:  Thank you for being on the show.  I understand that there was an idea of you coming back and doing a second segment one day.  When shall we expect to see you again? 

Poe: Turns halfway around with a sparkle in his eyes and a sarcastic smile on his lips.  Nevermore!

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