Career and Works

Edgar Allan Poe is well known for his short stories and poems.

His poem, The Raven, is probably the most recognizable.

The poem is about a man trying to forget the love of his life late one night. He hears a strange knock on the door and goes to answer it only to find no one there. He thinks it is just the wind so he goes to open the window and in flies the raven! For some reason he decides to talk to it and asks the bird’s name. I don’t know but at this point, I would start to think he was already a little crazy for initiating a conversation with a bird in the first place. Well astonishingly, the bird actually speaks and gives him this answer: “Nevermore.” Which just happens to be the most famous line ever from The Raven. Reading the poem, by now you can see that the man is a little crazy because he starts asking the bird more questions, some a little personal, but the bird gives him the same answer: “Nevermore.” Ultimately he goes insane trying to dismiss the bird who does not leave.

Here is The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never- nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

Here is a list of other works by Edgar Allan Poe (click for link):

Alone (1830)

Al Aaraaf (1829)

The Angel of the Odd–An Extravaganza (1850)

Annabel Lee (1849)

The Assignation (1834)

The Balloon-Hoax (1850)

The Bells (1849)

Berenice (1835)

The Black Cat (1843)

Bon-Bon (1850)

Bridal Ballad (1837)

The Business Man (1850)

The Cask of Amontillado (1846)

The City In the Sea (1831)

The Coliseum (1833)

The Colloquy of Monos And Una (1850)

The Conqueror Worm (1843)

The Conversation of Eiros And Charmion (1850)

Criticism (1850)

A Descent Into the Maelstrom (1841)

The Devil In the Belfry

Diddling (1850)

The Domain of Arnheim (1850)

A Dream (1827)

Dreamland (1844)

Dreams (1827)

A Dream Within A Dream (1827)

The Duc De L’Omlette (1850)

Eldorado (1849)

Eleonora (1850)

Elizabeth (1850)

An Enigma (1848)

Eulalie (1845)

Eureka–A Prose Poem (1848)

Evening Star (1827)

The Facts In the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)

Fairy-Land (1829)

The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)

For Annie (1849)

Four Beasts In One–the Homo-Cameleopard (1850)

The Gold-Bug (1843)

Hans Phaall (1850)

“The Happiest Day, the Happiest Hour” (1827)

The Haunted Palace (1839)

Hop-Frog Or the Eight Chained Ourang-Outangs (1850)

How To Write A Blackwood Article (1850)

Hymn (1835)


The Imp of the Perverse (1850)

The Island of the Fay (1850)

Israfel (1831)

King Pest (1835)

The Lake. To — (1827)

Landor’s Cottage (1850)

The Landscape Garden (1850)

Lenore (1831)

Ligeia (1838)

Lionizing (1850)

Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq. (1850)

Loss of Breath (1850)

The Man of the Crowd (1840)

The Man That Was Used Up (1850)

Manuscript Found In A Bottle (1833)

Marginalia (1844-49)

The Masque of the Red Death (1842)

Mellonta Tauta (1850)

Mesmeric Revelation (1844)

Metzengerstein (1850)

Morella (1850)

Morning On the Wissahiccon (1850)

The Murders In the Rue Morgue (1841)

The Mystery of Marie Roget (1850)

Mystification (1850)

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1850)

Never Bet the Devil Your Head (1850)

The Oblong Box (1850)

The Oval Portrait (1850)

The Pit And the Pendulum (1842)

The Power of Words (1850)

A Predicament (1838)

The Premature Burial (1850)

The Purloined Letter (1845)

The Raven (1845)

Romance (1829)

Scenes From ‘Politian’ (1835)

Serenade (1850)

Shadow–A Parable (1850)

Silence–A Fable (1837)

The Sleeper (1831)

Some Words With A Mummy (1850)

Song (1827)

Sonnet Silence (1840)

Sonnet to Science (1829)

Sonnet to Zante (1837)

The Spectacles (1850)

The Sphinx (1850)

Spirits of the Dead (1827)

Stanzas (1827)

The System of Dr. Tarr And Prof. Fether (1850)

Tale of Jerusalem (1850)

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains (1850)

Tamerlane (1827)

The Tell-Tale Heart (1843)

The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade (1850)

Thou Art the Man (1850)

Three Sundays In A Week (1850)

To — (1830)

To —– (1829)

To F– (1835)

To F–S S. O–D (1835)

To Helen (1831)

To Helen (1848)

To M– (1830)

To M.L.S. (1847)

To My Mother (1849)

To One In Paradise (1834)

To the River (1829)

Ulalame (1847)

A Valentine (1846)

The Valley of Unrest (1831)


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