90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe Visits Here & Now

Edgar Allan Poe (a.k.a. literary scholar Rob Velella) at WBUR in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Fresh off a cemetery tour in the Northeast, 19th century literary great Edgar Allan Poe stopped by Here & Now to read selections from a few of his creepiest works, including The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven.

Mr. Poe told Robin Young that it wasn’t easy being alive and it isn’t easy being dead – especially when your death is a mystery!

Velella, channeling Poe, reads from the Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Of course Poe didn’t really rise from his Baltimore grave to visit us. Literary historian Rob Velella makes it his goal to “do nothing less than bring 19th-century writers back from the dead” by re-enacting them.

Channeling Poe, Velella said he sometimes focused on murders and grisly deaths because “the murder or the killing itself is less relevant in the story than the psychology of the murderer or the narrator.”

Velella said he loves Poe because he “leaves a lot of ambiguity for the reader,” he chooses words with sounds that convey emotion and he’s “deeply psychological.”

But the literary historian says “the best part of all” is that while in academic circles Poe is a respected writer, Poe is also “a really cool writer for the average Joe to be reading.”

Velella reads the poem “A Dream Within A Dream,” in which the weeping narrator, after kissing a lover goodbye, cannot keep grains of sand from slipping through his fingers. He wonders “can I not save one from the pitiless wave,” which we found particularly moving in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Listen to Velella read the entirety of “A Dream Within A Dream”:

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Doctor Remulac

    Is this Chris Elliot?

  • Pheasant1958

    Coming soon to a dinner theater near you!

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 14 4 Comments

Lessons For News Media After Marathon Bombings

We take a look at what the news media got wrong and what can be learned for future breaking news coverage.

April 14 7 Comments

Marathon Bombing Survivor Loses Limbs But Finds New Life

A year after Jeff Bauman lost both legs in the bombing, he and his fiancée are expecting their first child.

April 11 9 Comments

Inside The World Of Fast Fashion

New styles go from runway to retailer at warp speed. We look at the impact of "fast fashion" and who's behind it.

April 11 3 Comments

Denver Mayor Visits Amsterdam Mayor

Worried about what legalized recreational marijuana means for Denver, Michael Hancock is speaking to his counterpart in Amsterdam.