Thank you to everyone who has stopped by the blog and has helped promote my shop over the last few days of this Poe-party. The winner of the Poe Grimoire bookmark has been chosen by the whims of fate (out of a hat), and she is the inimitable Jo Taylor– fantastic dancer and member of the wonderful 400 Roses Morris side.
Beautiful Jo is in the back row, far left!
Another manifestation of the Nevermoore bookmark is, of course, still available in my Etsy shop!
This is the second post of three in honor of Poe’s Birthday on Thursday. I’m celebrating by having a giveaway in my Etsy shop! Read on for details.
I can’t remember my first encounter with Poe. I know I had to read The Tell Tale Heart when I was about 9 and it seared itself in my consciousness– one of those moments where you feel the initial betrayal of the universe, the dispelling of childhood. Yes, the world is a dark place! But I also have a visceral memory of the Vincent Price hour-long dramatic interpretation– reproduced in the above Youtube video. Though, I must have seen it as a re-run. Watching this I remember Price’s profound effect on me– the camp in his performance– the perfect last facet of his persona– was lost on me as a child. You could call it a crush, that feeling he gave me, but I told no one, of course! Others were cutting out pictures of Shaun Cassidy from Tiger Beat. Yeah, it explains a lot– I also had a thing for Dan Haggerty/Grizzly Adams.
In Angela Carter’s meditation on Poe, “The Cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe” she imagines him as a child. His infancy is invented with her charateristic cynical compassion and narrative shifts, like facets in the void-world of the story. (She no doubt learned a trick or two from Poe–taking his unreliable narrators one step further). His mother, a vaudevillian actor, is rendered vividly– to this day I can’t think of Poe without seeing the grease-painted ghost of his mother close behind. Such is the power of Carter’s writing.
“Edgar would lie in prop-baskets on heaps of artificial finery and watch her while she painted her face. The candles made a profane altar of the mirror in which her vague face swam like a magic fish….”
And, perhaps the only thing that would make my Poe Nevermore bookmark more lovely is if it were between the covers of The Trials of Edgar Allen Poe, a collection of poems by one of my favourite poets and essayists, Ned Balbo.
Today is the last day to enter the Nevermore bookmark giveaway! Blog, Tweet or click the “like” button on your favourite item in my Etsy shop to be entered to win. Be sure to comment here so I know to enter you. Winner will be chosen tomorrow by a highly random, Discordian approved process that may involve kittens.
This is the first of 3 posts celebrating Edgar Allen Poe’s 203rd birthday on Thursday the 19th.
Lofoten is where my great-grandparents were from. My great-grandfather was a fisherman, like the Old man in Poe’s “A Descent into the Maelstrӧm”. The search for one’s roots always involves a bit of myth-making, and I find this a fortuitous geneology. (I live in a country that makes a fair bit of money from ancestral tourism, and it’s with some chagrin I admit to wanting to visit these islands.) But I first knew of this place from the Poe story.
The Maelstrӧm itself is exaggerated by Poe: it’s a swallower of ships and devourer of whales, appearing as “a smooth, shining and jet-black wall of water, inclined to the horizon at an angle of some forty-five degrees, speeding dizzily, round and round with a swaying and sweltering motion, and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice…”
For all his sentimentality and persistent melancholy, Poe’s work has been one of the earliest influences on my own writing. I am indebted to him, not least for giving me a certain mythic vision of my roots, even if it is the howling, watery maw of hell itself!
Happy Birthday, Vincent Price. He would have been 100 today. As a child he was the introduction to a genre I have come to love to the point of psychic immersion. His ability to combine high camp with intelligence, wit and existential dread will never be matched.
The new raven-feather Grimoire Bookmark was inspired by Poe’s poem and is right at home in this new Poe-inspired treasury compiled by The Heriloom Bouquet, a shop specializing in unique sculptural, vintage assemblage alternatives to a floral bridal bouquet.