In all the years I have done Storytime Edition episodes, I never did Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” because it just felt a little too obvious for some reason. I have been asked now for the third time to record a reading of it for the podcast, and I was even asked to read it in person to a friend recently. After all this, I am relenting. It is Halloween season, after all!
I first read this poem when, in the 6th grade, my dad took me to Poe’s grave and the Poe house in Baltimore, Maryland. At the house, they sold all kinds of tourist knick knacks, but the thing I wanted was a copy of “The Raven” that looked like it was written in script on aged paper. I read that thing over and over again.
In many ways, “The Raven” is a sort of city poem of Baltimore. Even their football team is named after it. This is all rather funny–some might say even appropriate–since the poem is all about life-crushing grief and unending loss. The agony of despair. It is also lyrical and beautiful, if not unapologetically melodramatic. I get a little melodramatic while reading it. I decided to record this with no sound effects or music. Poe’s words are music enough. Enjoy!