hero.ic

super motivation for
emulation

you say i saved you
cannot we both be one another’s
inspiration?
my trail is shorter than yours
i see you far ahead and what
has happened

weeks i was catatonic mired
in depression. could not write
my verses

we were meant to be
to resist to

fight this morbid tendency cannot
we read the story

aloud?

something about
being worn down and off

and out
so bad you become
real

book review – Edgar Allen Poe

Review: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of NantucketThe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poe published this book a good decade or more before Melville published MD, the famous whale of a story (of a whale). This tale was an abbreviated version -snapshot- of life at sea on a whaling vessel from Nantucket, in the 19th century. I mention Melville only because in this Penguin version of the text, the (rather dull) appendices point out several persuasive arguments that Melville both read and borrowed from Poe’s Narrative. I wouldn’t be surprised (but I didn’t need an appendix to convince me).

Poe, like Melville, tackles the life on the sea with incredible precision and an less fanciful vocabulary. The story follows a young stowaway with his dog Tiger and several colorful characters, in a harrowing and jagged course toward the South Pole. Poe has a wonderful way of describing the intense and frightful place on the edge of sanity, where Pym and the others frequently find themselves. Physical and mental breakdowns, which somehow the spirit survives (or not). Poe demonstrates his mastery of language, taking words back to their Latin roots like ‘condescension’ (coming down / with) and ‘inhume’ (the opposite of exhume: being buried alive). Writers can learn a lot by his writing style. I did.

Poe’s story drew me in — slowly. The setup was a recounting of Pym’s journal which had been mysteriously placed in the author’s hands. Pym was an endearing character, entrusted with many redeeming qualities. Friendship and loyalty. I liked him right away. He dreams of adventure, and his friend Augustus figures a way to stash him in the berth of his father’s ship — and away to sea we go!

The race to the South Pole was a magical and exciting time in the 19th century, what with Captain Cook and others journaling about their efforts and naming islands and sharing them with the world. Nobody knew what they might find! Ships would have to turn back when they reached latitudes full of ice and impassable, or ran out of time (seasons changing) or fuel. Worldwide folks began to realize that at certain latitudes closer to the pole, the ice actually let up and the weather placated. Ultimately pioneers would discover a continent full of burgeoning life.

This book is an adventure worth reading. I began to feel the adrenaline rush of the pioneers; Poe puts the pulse on discovery. The characters were likable, I wanted them to survive. I felt intimately involved in their circumstances, it was all very realistic. I also love how the story ends. There is a moodiness. An impression. The story made a remarkable impression on me.

View all my reviews

addiction

addiction

was like

a feeling

pulsing

pounding

uncontrollably

out my

pores

 

addiction

was like

a double

full moon

shining

through

prisms

and just

that far

removed

 

addiction

was like

living

without vegetables

without bread

without water

without

moral fiber

 

 

addiction

burnt holes

in my retina

so my

soul

could slip out

unawares

 

Edgar Allen Poe

knew

addiction

was best put

to rest

the way

Faulkner did

the way

Hemingway did

the way

Fitzgerald did

the way

Bukowski  did

 

typing

away

until

put to

rest