Wednesday, May 5, 2021

On watching videos of the Raven

From the archives

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 – The Raven

This morning I watched videoed readings of The Raven.

Great actors like James Earl Jones read the poem’s lines
to music, almost as if it were a film script with a musical score.
I fear they missed the point, rushing through the inside words
to make them fit an outside melody and rhythm.
With Poe, the music already lives, inside the words and lines.

Poe’s words are to be read slowly, deliberately, intentionally.
One word should stumble into the another, like a drunk man
walking, like Poe, bobbing and weaving his way through Baltimore.
My father would read The Raven as it should be read, slowly,

with drunken slurs, and sharps and flats. “Don’t fuck with Poe!

Forgive me son, I didn’t mean to say that word.

But Poe is not a joke.” I learned that lesson well.