Saturday, January 19, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe's Birthday!

If he were still alive, Mr. Poe would be turning 203. For years, a mystery man left roses and a bottle of cognac on his grave every year on his birthday, but he didn't show up last year or the year before. If he doesn't come tonight, they're calling the decades-long tradition over.


Obviously, the best place to start is with Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is always a hit with tweens and teens and so you might as well start with everything.

I particularly love the way Ryan Price's creepy illustrations add to the text in Visions in Poetry's edition of The Raven.

There are a million different comic book versions of Poe's works. I adore Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Death and Dementia and Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness, which are illustrated by Gris Grimly. The format may lean more towards super-heavily-illustrated novel than true comic book, but it's so gorgeous and macabre.


I'm surprised there aren't more retellings of Poe's work. We do have Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death, which is inspired by the Poe story of the same name, setting it in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic deeply atmospheric steam punk universe where rich teens wear masques to ward off the plague that's killing everyone. The first in a series, Dance of the Red Death comes out in April.

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh isn't a retelling, but takes in Poe's universe. Isabelle is the popular cheerleader who has to do an English project with the goth boy Varen, on Poe. But Varen has secrets and his Poe-ish notebook scribblings and doodles don't stay bound in ink and paper. The first in a series, the second is Enshadowed, which has a lot to do with the Poe Toaster.


Of course, the matters surrounding Poe's death (and its cause) are a whole 'nother mystery.

Geared towards younger teens and tweens, Georgia Bragg's How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous gives us the latest theory, as well as all the gory, disgusting details (and not just for Poe. The book is worth it for the sections of Garfield and Henry VIII.)

Joyce Carol Oates has written many works for teens and adults. Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway is an adult work that older teens will enjoy. She imagines the death scenes of each author, telling the story while channeling their writing style.

What did I miss? Are there really not that many Poe retellings? I don't read a lot of horror because I terrify very easily and don't like giving myself nightmares. I've surely missed something! Leave a comment to clue me in or just tell me what your favorite Poe story is.

(Mine's "The Tell Tale Heart." I especially like it in diorama form, a la The Simpsons.)

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