Since Halloween is soon upon us, it doesn’t surprise me that this video has been going around recently: Christopher Walken reciting Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Raven”
I cut my literary-horror teeth on Poe; in fact, Poe has been a huge influence on my own writing (as is the case, I’m sure, for almost every modern American horror writer). I even hesitate to say that I love this poem, because it is so commonly known and admired that I feel like I’m a cliche for doing so–as if, to retain some sort of literati street cred, I should turn my nose up at this one and tell you that that you should really read this other obscure Mesopotamian or German or Norse poem, or whatever (but really, if you like Poe’s fiction, you should check out Johann Ludwig Tieck). But I’m not that well-versed, and even if I were, I would probably still love “The Raven.” And who wouldn’t (besides Emerson)? Beneath the dark and haunting imagery is a genius rhythm that plants those lyrics deep in the cracks of your brain (the rhythm he likely
stole borrowed from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” but that one is almost four times as long, and a chick flick besides). “The Raven” was like a creepy 19th century rap song. So, for your viewing and listening pleasure, here some more readings of “The Raven” I found on YouTube.
I like to listen to the next one and imagine Mufasa reading “The Raven” to Simba at night:
And it’s hard to talk of Poe without thinking of Vincent Price (whether you want to or not)–
The following video is actually my favorite out of all of these. I love the animation, and it makes a lot of sense to precede “The Raven” with Poe’s earlier “Lenore.”
I hope you enjoyed all this poetry as much as I did! (See what I did there?) Let me know in the comments which one was your favorite, or if you know of any other good ones out there! And don’t forget to join my email list!