Season 3 Episode 44: Legends & Traditions – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Happy Halloween!

On the days of October 31 and November 1, we are celebrating traditions that have come to us through the centuries.  The ancients who commemorated the Celtic Festival of Samhain would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts, marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or “darker-half” of the year. All Saints Day originated with Pope Gregory III, in around 731 when he designated November 1st as a time to honour all saints.  

Soon, as is the way with legends and traditions, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain.  What was first known as All Hallows Eve, became Halloween, a day where activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats have entertained us over the years.

I am publishing this post at the stroke of midnight on October 31, 2021, the very point of transition between Halloween and the coming of All Saints Day.  The trick or treaters are safely home with their stash of candy.  The candles illuminating the jack-o-lanterns sitting on steps leading to doorways have long since burned out.  Now, a ghostly, intense darkness envelopes our side of the world, magnifying the noises of night.  Do you hear the whispers? Do you hear the creaks in the floorboards, the cold wind whistling around the corner of the house?  What is tapping at the windowpane?

Fears come in the night and are exaggerated by darkness. 

What better time than now to recite “The Raven” the poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

We find a young scholar reading books of “lore” by a dying fire on a dreary night in December.  Lamenting the loss of love, the young scholar is seeking a way to forget the death of the beloved Lenore.  A tapping at the chamber door reveals nothing.  But the tapping is repeated more incessantly, now at the window. When the window is opened, a raven flutters into the chamber and the perches on a bust of Pallas above the door.

As the poem progresses the young scholar begins as “weak and weary,” transitioning to regretful and grief-stricken, before passing into an angry frenzy when the raven says “nevermore” to being reunited with the beloved Lenore.

As we pass into the night, join me in reciting The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Thank you for joining me in reciting The Raven.

The dawn in near, morning is coming, and a new day will come again.   Having faced darkness, it is time to live in the light.

Until we meet again, dear friends, keep reading, keep reciting poetry, take care and be well. I leave you with these words by Edgar Allan Poe.

“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”

Legends & Traditions – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

57 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 44: Legends & Traditions – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe”

  1. We love Poe and especially how you read “The Raven”, dear Rebecca, and how Don made the sound 👍👍👍. Just PERFECT!
    We enjoyed it VERY much and heard it several times.
    With love ❤️ ❤️ and hugs 🤗 🤗
    and happy Samhain
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My dear, dear friends, a BIG thank you for your heartwarming comments.. I hesitated to take on “The Raven” – there is so much emotional outcries that are held in Edgar Allan Poe’s words. And yet, it seemed that the poem enticed me to just read a few lines, and then I found myself in the darkness of early December, with the dying embers. I heard the tapping at the window even as I read the words. The beauty about poetry is that it demands our full attention – all senses are involved. I was thinking about your conversations on ugliness and beauty when I was practicing the recitation. Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.” The Raven has a beauty of words that created an atmosphere of dread and darkness. And even the dread and darkness held an unmistakable beauty. Sending many many hugs and love to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reading this classic; it’s been too many years since reading it. It really makes one grateful for the light of a new day and passing from a long night of fear. He was certainly haunted by a loathsome spirit, tormenting him with “Nevermore.” What did he do to deserve such a never ending Hell?!? The lighter moment of his bemusement with the raven soon passed into absolute horror. You have such a clear and expressive voice, Rebecca. The sun is now shining…hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for listening in and for your encouraging support of poetry and poetry reading, Mary Jo. I love hearing a poet read their poems for it adds so much to the meaning and enjoyment of poetry. I started reciting poetry out loud to an empty room about 10 years ago. What a revelation to me. I heard the words that were imbued with my emotional response. The words came alive and I felt them dancing around me, which was an indication that I had triggered my imagination simply by giving words a voice. Dear Edgar Allan Poe – he was complex, as was his poetry and stories. Yes, the sun is shining, the path is waiting to take us onward. Sending many hugs

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Impressive, Rebecca! Your scene-setting, the music, and your stellar/dramatic reading of Poe’s poem — one of those works that’s both exceptionally written and widely popular.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m thrilled that you listened in, Dave. I really enjoyed your post yesterday – of reading “scary” stories. It occurred to me, after I read all the comments, that short narratives such as short stories and poems may be the scariest of all because the message comes forcefully through a limited number of words – case in point, The Raven. As I practiced the recitation, I became more entrenched in the darkness of the scene and felt that the raven had tapped at my windowpane. I hope that I am encouraging others to give words of poetry a voice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. GREAT point, Rebecca, that “short narratives such as short stories and poems may be the scariest of all because the message comes forcefully through a limited number of words.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Your last sentence caught my attention. The poem I have been wanting to give voice to lately is “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Oh please do, Liz!! One of my favourites! I would love to hear you read: “In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.”

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Rebecca! 🙂 After seeing that excellent Poe quote, MIsty can almost forgive Poe for “The Black Cat” story. Almost, but not quite. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Linda for listening in to The Raven. I am hoping to encourage readers of poetry to recite the words out loud. I started reading poetry out loud to an empty room about 10 years ago and realized immediately that there was added depth, more engagement and understanding. I love when I hear a poet read their poetry.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh, Rebecca, this is fabulous! I was drawn into it by your voice and loved listening! Wow! I will definitely come back to listen and listen again! Happy All Saints Day and Happy November, my dearest friend! 🤗 many many of them! 🤗

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are a wonderful encouragement to me, Marina! I found reciting The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe intimidating!!! After recording the audio, I checked to see who else recited this poem: James Earl Jones, Christopher Lee, Christopher Walken, Vincent Price. I’m hoping that more people will start to read poetry aloud because it adds so much to the enjoyment of reading. I read that Poe chose a raven because ravens can speak. He first consider a parrot and an owl, before choosing a raven. Can you imagine the title as The Parrot or The Owl!!!? YIKES!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yikes indeed!!!! I didn’t know that!
        I haven’t heard any of the recitations you mention but I’m more than happy with yours and that’s the one I wish to carry in my mind! 🧡🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Ooh, this was so shivery–the intro, the music, the recitation. You were really feeling it!! I’m glad you brought us back into the light before you said goodbye. Brava!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed the recitation. I confess that I was intimidated by the poem – it is magnificent and I did not know whether I could capture the feeling of dread. I need not have been concerned! Poe has a way of drawing readers into the dread and darkness with his words, especially the repeated “nevermore.” Soon, I was immersed in the scene, with the raven close by – or so it seemed. It occurred to me during the practice sessions that “scary” short stories and poems capture the horror with more force and speed than a longer narrative because of their limited word count.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you for your expressive reading of this poem. This poem has a very special history for me–I will try to make it short. The story begins in a one room school house in the middle of Nebraska. I was sitting in a small desk at the back of the room in the third or fourth grade listening to the teacher near the blackboards at the front of the room teaching the eighth grader about the poem: “The Raven”. It was a shortened version. I sat there, becoming so frightened, I didn’t forget the experience for a long time. That was not the end! English requirements in the eighth grade required the study of “The Raven”. Although I was older, I still had negative thoughts and, still do, to this day. The poem is a classic, of course, and beautifully written, but the word “raven” still reminds me of my childish memories. I want to thank you for your excellent reading of this classic! ! !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Frances – what a wonderful memory for you to share. I can only imagine what it was like to hear a poem at such a young age. As you know, I have difficulty with reading these types of “scary” poems. Our imaginations are heightened, especially with the repeated word, “Nevermore.” Do you remember those huge ravens when we lived in Northern Manitoba. They were massive and had huge wing spans. Did you know that ravens do indeed talk? Check out this link: https://youtu.be/AfsnHVaScjg Thank you for starting me on my poetry journey with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing.” And thank you for sharing your memories of The Raven.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am not surprised that ravens talk. They are amazing birds. I tried to listen to the link but it would not come up for me!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. HI Ms Frances, your short story interested me. I was also frightened by certain readings I heard at school. I am glad that teachers and schools are more sensitive to this now and don’t traumatize their pupils, putting them off certain literature for life.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I confess that I was intimidated, Becky, and wondered if I would be able to master the words. It is still a work in progress. But there comes a time in life when you say to yourself – If not now? When? I held my breath and took the plunge. Thank you so much for your heartwarming comments.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I took the challenge of reading The Raven with great trepidation. I did some background research and found that Poe was writing this poem during a time when his wife was deathly ill. He claimed that he wrote the poem “backwards” not certain how that would be?!! The poem was a runaway success, but it didn’t bring him any financial rewards, based on the copyright laws at the time. It sees that publications didn’t have to pay Poe to reprint his poem. It seems quite unfair!!! Thank you for your heartening comments – you always make my day.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HI Rebecca, this is very interesting. I hadn’t researched it but knowing about his wife’s illness and death I guessed that is what inspired this poem. I also write my books backwards so I can relate.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Ah,the irresistible intelligent Raven, and Edgar Allan Poe’s creature of choice, one might say, a sort of key figure to render his tails of shiver causing stores, one of the most famous if not the most famous of the genre. Then again easy for me to say, as Poe remains my favourite author of his time, and a substantial influence for my having written poems on both the raven and the crow.
    As you point out, the lack of protection for an author’s creations, left brilliant writers like Poe in a life of dire financial conditions.
    If I may be so bold, a few lines, as in the last strophe of one of my poems,

    The Raven
    – a mysterious fellow –

    Among fellow ravens
    Who identify as human,
    Mean be recognized
    A genius well proven,
    Thus so cawing bellows
    Assume adorns the heavens,
    Till be croaks rendered hollow
    To attest be mysterious fellow!
    JJF

    Rebecca, I really enjoyed this TT&T post of yours, for it played close to heart, as to this particular subject, and the discussion we have had in the past on the raven and of course Poe. Thank you dear friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You were the one who inspired me to recite the poem, Jean-Jacques. Poe captures the fear of the unknown, of things mysterious that wait in the darkness for us. After the recitation, I was left that a lingering sense of unease. What I didn’t know was the Poe was considered to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre (C August Dupin). Even Sir Arthur’s Conan Doyle believed that Poe’s work was the “root from which a whole literature has developed”. I continue to learn Jean-Jacques! Thank you for adding your poem: The Raven – a mysterious fellow.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Robbie – I was very intimidated by the poem. There is so much depth and emotional nuances that keeps getting more intense as it progresses. Poe pushes us onward with each “nevermore.” After the recording, I felt a lingering sense of dread, perfect, as a you said, to celebrate Halloween.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Robbie, for your heartwarming encouragement. Yes, I was very intimidated because poetry requires our full participation to express the emotion that was intended by the poet. While I recognize that there are many excellent instructions on how to read poetry correctly, there is an emotional nuance that goes beyond simple mechanics. Since we will be commemorating November 11th, I found Sean Bean’s brilliant reading Wilfred Owens “Anthem for Doomed Youth” https://youtu.be/ZlDoon91vZk

        Liked by 1 person

  8. No one reads as well as you, Rebecca. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I adore the poem, and what a great classic for Hallowe’en.
    Now, I’m thinking about other poems I adore that I would like to hear you read.
    Have you read “The Lady of Shalott”?
    I can’t remember?
    I know you’ve read at least 1 sonnet. I adore the sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. You could read 2 in 1 post!
    I also love “To a Field Mouse”
    OMG! I’m like a fan of the hits of yore!
    HUGS!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Resa, I am so grateful for your lovely comments. I have recorded The Lady of Shalott but I want to redo the recitation because I want it to sound more relaxed. We must get together and read poems together. I have always wanted to recite the Address to the Haggis by Robbie Burns, but I simply don’t have the ability to speak with the brilliant Scottish accent. Sending many hugs. P.S. Do you remember Wynken, Blankenship and Nod by Eugene Field. It would be perfect set to Tim’s night sky!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. OMG!
        Have Shey recite The Lady of Shalott! It would be perfect!
        Yes, I remember Wynken, Blankenship and Nod!
        Hey “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” is another goodie.

        OKAY, a podcast where you pick mmmmm 5 to 8 poems, depending on length, and have each recited by one of your podcast pals.
        A potpourri of poetry. You do one, too.
        You could use a bunch of footage you already have to go with the recitations.
        Just a thought!
        {{{hugs}}}

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I love Poe, his stories and his poetry, Rebecca. I am late getting to this post, but I am so glad I worked my way back to it. I never get tired of hearing “The Raven” and you gave us an excellent reading – I should say performance. Well done! And thank you for sharing this with us. This was truly wonderful to listen to,

    When our daughter was in high school, her English teach made them memorize a poem to recite. Faith and a good friend chose “The Raven”, and despite its length, they memorized it and recited it back and forth in class. I can still remember hearing alternating stanzas by Faith while they practiced on the phone.

    I hope you guys have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are never late to the party Dan! I am delighted that you listened in and really enjoyed reading about how your daughter and friend memorized The Raven. I can only imagine the fun they had and choosing Edgar Allan Poe was a great way to start a poetry journey. What great memories. I was surprised by the emotional sensation of darkness came on as I read the words. Reciting poetry out loud makes the scene come alive as if the raven was sitting by my side. Many thanks for your visit and comments.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like that Poe includes a strong reference to Lenore in The Raven. It’s like he saw his poetry as a world that he could visit, or in which part of him lived.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes! I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of Poe living in two worlds. I have looked briefly into Poe’s background and would love to do more research. I read that “The Raven’ explores the world of emotional wars that individuals face in all walks of life; specifically, the fight one can never ignore, the fight of control over the emotions of grief and loss.”
        Rehman, Noor. “The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe”. Poem Analysis, https://poemanalysis.com/edgar-allan-poe/the-raven/.

        As I recited the poem, I felt that sadness, the despair of never seeing Lenore. I understand that Poe wrote this poem when he wife was very ill. Poetry is another world, and all who venture there come away with a new respect for life that has been given.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Apologies for arriving late- had a struggle getting the coffin lid off. Brilliant atmospheric reading Rebecca- sent chills down my spine. Don has done marvellous creating the chilling atmos-fear to your reading. You have a beautifully resonant voice and use it so skillfully. Wot a team you are! I take my hat off to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I laughed out loud with the coffin lid comment. Oh Paul – you are always on time to bring humour, insight and new knowledge. Reciting poetry has given me greater understanding of how I slur words together, take short cuts with prepositions and forget to end the word properly before moving on to the next word. I am learning to give words more respect. Sending hugs along with my gratitude for your heartening words of encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Charlotte. Edgar Allan Poe’s writing has fascinated and mystified me. I’ll be starting Season 4 of Tea Toast & Trivia. Let me know if you would be interested in joining me for a conversation on TTT about how music adds beauty to our lives. Many thanks for connecting.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d love to Rebecca, my latest project is a live stream opera for babies. I have loved performing this role and have been amazed at how babies will interact with this live for 45 minutes. It will be interesting to see how it comes over on laptops or their tv. I’m also working on a research project to bring operatic performance to the hard of hearing and deaf incorporation sound, movement/mime and sign.

        Liked by 2 people

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