BLINDED TRIALS: Was Edgar Allan Poe’s Genius One of His Devising, or Our Own?
First, a concession: My dislike of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing style — the visceral, physical cringing I feel when reading his poems and stories — is likely a testament to that style’s phenomenal success. The dreary, gothic, broad strokes that paint each line are to me a cliche, one that hearkens to every bad poem read to me in over-earnest tones by sophomoric students back in the day when I, too, could be counted as one of their kind.
You likely know what I mean.
You’re reading a poem someone you have a crush on wrote, and it’s about a death, and there’s a scary tree, and it’s rather obvious that the tree represents death because the poet you have a crush on lacks the subtlety to do anything but telegraph the allusion with a jackhammer, and then at the very end of the poem the poet you have a crush on inexplicably sees the need to actually switch to dramatic all-caps and announce “AND THEN I KNEW THAT THE TREE ITSELF WAS DEATH!” And then the poet you have a crush on looks at you intensely with slightly tearing eyes, and asks you what you thought, and you concentrate so very hard on your facial muscles not to give away the actual answer to that very question.
We’ve all been there.