Halloween is upon us again and there’s a ghoulish feeling in the air. Though scary movies and frightful, bloody costumes are a mainstay of Halloween revelry today, it’s hard to forget about some of the true masters of suspense and creepy tales. Among them, Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) has one of the best reputations for chilling stories and poems, so eerie they still send shivers down the spine more than 150 years later.
Poe’s most famous poem is undoubtedly “The Raven,” lyric masterpiece of rhyme and rhythm, first published in New York in 1845. The poem tells the story of the distraught, unnamed narrator, lamenting the death of his love, Lenore, and visited by a talking raven.
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
His slow dissent into madness over the 108 lines of verse is conveyed through Poe’s signature melancholy tone—”the most legitimate of all poetical tones,” he wrote in his essay “The Philosophy of Composition,” which details the poem’s creation. The raven’s repetition of “Nevermore” gives the poem its haunting feel, making it perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit.
In 2009, the Postal Service issued an Edgar Allan Poe stamp, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the macabre writer’s birth. In addition to the collectible stamp, a commemorative booklet was created specifically about “The Raven,” with excerpts from Poe’s essay, original illustrations by
Though the stamps are no longer available for individual purchase, the book still is. Whether you’re a Poe aficionado, lover of suspenseful stories, or simply a Halloween fan, this book, with its unique design and beautiful images, will be a wonderful addition to any collection. It’d also make a great gift!