Edgar Allan Poe was born on 19 January 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He died, some say in mysterious circumstances, in Baltimore, Maryland at the Washington College Hospital, on 7 October 1849. Poe was just 40 years old. However, during his short life Poe was widely celebrated for his short stories and poetry. Unfortunately his fame did not transfer into income. Small wonder then, that he accepted YR’s summons to this interview in exchange for a donation to the Poe Mystery Writers Trust.
Edgar Allan Poe was a poet, short story writer, journalist and literary critic. His best known works include, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (1839), ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (1841), ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ (1842) and ‘The Raven’ (1845). His stories and poetry continue to be popular with modern readers and have inspired many writers and filmmakers.
YR: Welcome Mister Poe. Did you have a nice trip back?
EAP: Well yes, I suppose I did. The shift between dimensions is always unpleasant. Everything dissolves into atoms, then, you kind of reassemble again on the other side. You tend to keep your fingers crossed you know?
EAP: I notice that things have sure changed a great deal since I was here last. It’s all just a little frightening for me.
YR: Frightening for you? Oh give me a break.
EAP: A break?
YR: Yes well, it’s very true that things have changed a lot Ed. Oh, do you mind if I call you Ed?
EAP: As a matter of fact I do mind. We have not been properly introduced, and nobody has ever called me Ed.
YR: Come on Ed, loosen up a bit and undo that string tie. You’ve been gone for a while. We don’t stand on ceremony so much these days.
EAP: That may be so. But look here, my name is Edgar. Although, you can call me Mister Poe.
YR: Okay, if that’s the way you want it. Mister… Temperamental.
EAP: Mister Poe sonny. Don’t get shirty with me. I only came back because you said I would be able to clear up some misconceptions about myself and my writing. I am doing your nasty little magazine a big favour.
YR: Don’t forget the donation to your writers’ trust.
EAP: (sheepishly) Well yes, that too.
YR: Yeah, okay, whatever Ed. Still a harsh critic of other people’s work eh?
EAP: That’s Mister Poe and yes I am. I don’t know how many red pencils I could wear out on a rag like this one but I’d suggest that double figures would not be out of the question.
YR: Ouch, still a bit moody Mister Poe?
EAP: Moody? Listen sonny, when I was alive, I struggled with debt and alcoholism. Then my dear, dear wife died in 1847. Am I still moody? Yes, you bet. I am also still a little gloomy and morose, not to mention deceased. I see things very differently to you.
YR: Whatever. Settle down, Mister Poe. Let’s just get on with the interview shall we?
EAP: Alright then. What do you want to know?
YR: Did you manage to meet up with your missus when you passed over?
EAP: Yes, but I’d rather not talk about it.
YR: Sounds suitably intriguing. Did she give you the flick or something?
EAP: If you’re asking whether we are still together, the answer is no.
YR: Left you for a younger spectre eh? Perhaps it was for someone less creepy?
EAP: Err, yes, but he’s nothing but a cad and a bounder. He is a rogue who’s taken advantage of her youth and innocence.
YR: Oh Edgar, you should talk. You married her when she was 13. You were 22. She was your cousin. Come on now.
EAP: Well, you look here, you weren’t there. Anyway she looked a whole lot older. You’ve seen the photographs. I’d also had a couple of drinks and the sun was in my eyes. She initiated our close relationship. I just saw her ankles and love did the rest. I was smitten.
YR: Okay Ed, we get the picture. Why do you hate birds so much?
EAP: I don’t hate birds. What on earth are you getting at?
YR: Does The Raven ring a bell with you?
EAP: Of course it does. It’s one of my finest pieces, if I say so myself.
YR: Certainly you can say so Ed. But what’s the story? What kind of creature is the bird really? Is it perhaps a demon or something even meaner?
EAP: (sighs) The wretched bird is simply a sounding board for a young scholar. He is desolate following the death of his one, true love, Lenore.
YR: Yeah, well that one’s not going to fly with our readers Ed. What about your so-called mysterious death? What happened there?
EAP: Well, as you seem to know, there has been much speculation. Amongst other things, it has been suggested that I died of heart disease, drugs, cholera, rabies or alcoholism; or even a combination of all those things.
YR: It’s an impressive lineup of possibilities, Edgar. Which one actually did you in?
EAP: It’s a mystery isn’t it, sonny? I like mysteries. Let’s leave it at that.
YR: Mister Poe you are hardly being co-operative.
EAP: Yes. I suppose that you might be wondering why that’s so? (long, long pause)
YR: Well…I’m waiting Ed. Don’t keep me in suspense. What’s your answer?
EAP: To quote the raven, ‘Nevermore’. Merely this and nothing more. (Poe vanishes)
YR: What? Now where’s he gone? Come back here Ed. I’ll give you Nevermore.