How to Recite Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe
Why Read Poetry?
Prose is good, often even great, but poetry can quickly seize both your imagination and emotions and elevate them in soaring flights of beauty, evoking joy or sadness in their rhythm, rhyme, and meaning. Try reading more poetry for insight and inspiration.
Recite “The Raven” by Poe
Enjoy the majestic poetry of “The Raven.” Recite The Raven emphasizing its iambic meter (alternating stressed/unstressed syllables). The syllables in caps are the ones stressed:
ONCE upON a MIDnight DREARy, WHILE I PONder’d WEAK and WEARy,
O ver MANy a QUAINT and CURious VOLume OF forGOTten LORE –
WHILE I NODded, NEARly NAPping, SUDdenLY there CAME a TAPping,
AS of SOMEone GENTly RAPping, RAPping AT my CHAMber DOOR,
“ ’TIS some VISiTOR I MUTter’d, TAPping AT my CHAMber DOOR –
ONly THIS and NOTHing MORE.”
Read the entire poem to get the full appreciation of the story and the rhythm.
Recite Poe’s “Annabel Lee”
Read Poe’s great love poem to his young bride. Annabel Lee was Poe’s cousin and 13-year old bride who, tragically, died young. This poem has a captivating rhythm of alternating tetrameter and trimeter (a line having four stressed syllables followed by one with three).
It was MANy and MANy a YEAR aGO,
In a KINGdom BY the SEA,
That a MAIDen there LIVED whom YOU may KNOW
By the NAME of ANNabel LEE;
And this MAIDen she LIVED with no OTHer THOUGHT
Than to LOVE and be LOVED by ME.
Look up and read this entire brief, six-stanza poem. Its poetry is tragically evocative and beautiful.
Recite Poe’s “The Bells”
Have fun with Poe’s amazing poem “The Bells.” The poetry in The Bells comes from repetition, rhyme and onomatopoeia (words that sound like the things they represent). Each succeeding stanza gets longer and represents a later stage of life.
Hear the sledges with the bells—
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
Read all four stanzas of this frenzied poetry in one of Poe’s last works.
Use Your Local Library
There are so many great poets. Ask others for their favorite poems or poets and take out a few books of poems from your local library. Poetry is good any time but is especially great to read on dark and cold evenings. And you could really get inspired to write some poems yourself.
You can find full copies of the above three poems by Poe on the web.