Saturday, January 19, 2013

Edgar's Birthday and his Muse, Fanny

What moves the talented people? What clicks in their soul do they hear and so begins the production of that which is art?
So very much has been written about Edgar Allan Poe.....and January 19, 1809 is the day of his birth to a mother and father in show business. They died when Poe was only around the age of 2, so a wealthy merchant, John Allan of Richmond Virginia, fostered the child and gave him the middle name of Allan.

the back of the Edgar Allan Poe action figure....a fine Xmas gift from Kelly!

File:Edgar Allan Poe 2 retouched and transparent bg.png
This picture of Poe, perhaps his most well known is from a fine wikipedia article.

How brilliant? Invented the genre of detective fiction, and made science fiction so very popular....He was a poet, a short story writer (another of his "firsts") and edited many magazines of the time. He supported himself, his wife and his mother-in-law, and earned very little for his genius....
such is the story of most talented artists and writers.

the Poe action figure doll, a 70s collection of his stories and poems, the book Poe & Fanny, and our edition of antique Poe, dated 1882.

That Poe first published a book of poems....Poe. Poems. that has always fascinated me...Was his life so tragic, so full of genius, was of the curious combination of the Irish that he was with the long tradition of rich word play....the artistic talent that was passed to him from his parents....the knowledge of the tragedy of the slaves sold and bought by his foster father, and the slaves he grew up with in the home of the Allans....the sadness that was his due as an orphan and as a foster child.....

I have many mementos that are a tribute to one of my favorite so many people have also done for One and a half centuries since he became a celebrity when he published and performed The Raven.
His executor, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, defamed him terribly after Poe's mysterious death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849.
One theory of his tragic and strange death is that he was drugged, dressed in odd clothes and shepherded from one polling place to another in Baltimore.
(proof positive that politcians and the rich people that own them, take voting in America very seriously...Democrats want you to vote, Republicans will try to kill you and confuse you if you try it)

It wasn't until a decade after the Redfield edition of his poems and stories published in 1856 that Poe's true life story was redeemed. And then we know...what happened....
Poe has become one of America's most beloved writers.

and oh yes, this handmade necklace, made from a picture of  my #13 specimen bottle, is a tribute to Poe. The number 13 appears again and again in his life....

I just finished reading Poe and Fanny by  John May, published in 2004. Though it is a novel of historical fiction, it posits a quite interesting thread, an alternate and entirely plausible story of his fascination with Frances Sargent Osgood.
Not much was known of Fanny...until recently, although she was an influence on Emily Dickinson and Fanny was an immensely popular poet from the 1830's until her death in 1850 from tuberculosis. and pic

2 of my favorite Fanny Osgood poems....

A Shipwreck
I launched a bark on fate's deep tide ---
A frail and fluttering toy,
But freighted with a thousand dreams
Of beauty and of joy.

Ah me! it found no friend in them ----
The wave -- the sky --- the gale --
Though Love enraptured took the helm --
And Hope unfurled the sail!

And you, who should its pilot be--
   To whom in fear it flies--
Forsake it, on a treacherous sea,
   To seek a prouder prize.

Alas for Love! bewildered child!
   He weeps the helm beside,
And Hope has furled her fairy sail,
   Nor longer tempts the tide.

Despair and Pride in silence fling
   Its rich freight to the wave,
And now an aimless wreck it floats,
   That none would stoop to save.

I won't type the entire poem and I couldn't find a Google source, but I'll keep looking. This Osgood poem is published in the book, Poe and Fanny, referenced above.*****

Had We But Met 

Had we but met in life's delicious spring,
When young romance made Eden of the world;
When bird-like Hope was ever on the wing,
(In thy dear breast how soon had it been furl'd!)

Had we but met when both our hearts were beating
With the wild joy --  the guileless love of youth --
Thou a proud boy -- with frank and ardent greeting --
And I, a timid girl, all trust and truth!

to be continued.