To celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday and the Edgar Allan Cozy anthology, today we talk about how we first “met” Poe. So Wickeds can you remember your very first Poe?
Edith: Oh, wow. I was in about fourth grade. I was reading anything (and everything) on my family’s extensive bookshelves. Sherlock Holmes was already one of my go-to reads. I don’t remember if my mom pointed me to Poe or if I just found his collected works. I do remember my terror at reading “Cask of Amontillado,” “Tell-Tale Heart,” and more. But it was terror mixed with the delight of reading a fabulous story, something I couldn’t put down.
Sadie/Susannah/Jane: My first real memory of Poe is doing a 7th grade English “unit” on his works. Pretty sure I had read the poetry and stories before that, but I distinctly remember turning in an essay to Mr. Palumbo (a teacher we all had a crush on–dark hair, big brown eyes, a seventies mustache, and a martial arts expert in a time and place where that was quite exotic) analyzing Poe’s deteriorating mental state as reflected in his poetry. It was, if I do say so myself, a masterpiece of junior high literary criticism and psychological diagnoses. And I’ve loved Poe ever since!
Liz: I’d read my share of Poe early on, but in college I took a really cool lit class. My teacher, Professor McHale, taught us how to really dig in and analyze literature, and he loved Poe. We did a lot of work with his stories, and it made me look at him in a whole new light. Always liked him, but that made me a huge fan.
Sherry: I was spending the night with my friend Julie. We were sleeping in her basement and late at night turned on the TV with the sound down so her mom wouldn’t hear us. The movie The Pit and The Pendulum with Vincent Price was on. I was terrified and fascinated. I think the first two stories I read by Poe were The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. I could hear that heart beating for days when I was young.
Barb: Okay. I don’t remember. I am old. I think it was probably in one of the six schools I attended during what are now described as the middle school years. So since I have nothing pithy to say, I asked my daughter Kate who teaches short stories at the college level. She said students love discussing premediation vs. crime of passion vs. insanity in “Tell-Tale Heart,” but the one I really thought would be fun was re-imagining the narrator as female, since the he/she is never identified. It really changes the story.
Jessie: I read The Cask of Amontillado in high school. I have never been a fan of below-ground spaces and that really helped solidify that feeling.
Julie: I remember The Cask of Amontillado and freaking out. When I read the Dupin stories in a “History of the Mystery Novel” class, I rediscovered and newly appreciated Poe. Though some of his stories still freak me out.
Readers: Your first Poe experience? Are you a fan or not?