The Raven, a reading by Christopher Walken

The Raven depicts a mysterious raven’s midnight visit to a mourning narrator, as illustrated by John Tenniel (1858) / Public Domain
courtesy of pdclipart.org

Well, Happy Halloween everyone. Reading The Raven on Halloween is a rather nice tradition, I think. There are quite a number of celebrity readings on YouTube, including one by Christopher Lee, which I thought quite good. I went with Christopher Walken for today.  Personal bias: I can hear the New Yorker in his voice. He’s from Queens, New York.  Anyway, enjoy.  Have a lovely Halloween and don’t eat too much candy corn.



Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
               Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
               Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
               This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
               Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
               Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
               ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
               Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
               With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
               Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
               Of ‘Never—nevermore.'”

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
               Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
               She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
               Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
               Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Featuring Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes: Interview, Poetry Reading, and Writing in Yorkshire Dialect


Map showing Yorkshire highlighted against the historical counties of England excluding the City of London, in 1851 courtesy of Dr Greg, Nilfanion and MRSC.  © Crown copyright and database right 2010 under CC BY-SA 3.0
Indo-European


I don’t remember when I first encountered Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow) and his prodigious work marked by a keen appreciation for art and history and his observations of everyday life salted with irony and humor and his rich Yorkshire Dialect. I think Paul either submitted work to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt or to an issue of The BeZine, maybe both. I do remember I had to look up Wombwell. It seemed to me a rather odd name for a blog. Wombwell (clearly not Paul’s family name) turned out to be the town were Paul currently lives in Northern Yorkshire and “Wombwell” may mean “Womba’s Well” or “well in a hollow.”

What prompted today’s post is that I am able to bring you one of Paul’s poetry readings. I’ve used this as an excuse to also get to know Paul better. Read on: this is an interesting interview. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.  / J.D.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: Paul, are you the only poet in your family?  How did you come to poetry?

PAUL: The only published one, yes. When I was seven or eight I remember holding my head in my hands at home when my English homework was to write a nonsense poem in the style of Edward Lear or Lewis Carroll. I had brain freeze. Off the cuff Mam wrote one for me about an Elephant with a propeller for a nose. It was very funny, though the elephant died. His propeller was used as his grave stone. Mam was also the youngest editor of NALGO magazine when she worked as a secretary for the hospital board in Harrogate. I don’t know where she got her creativity with words.

JAMIE: Quite frequently you write in Yorkshire dialect, which as a reader I find charming and challenging.  What made you decide to do that?   

PAUL: Dialect is always said to be dying out and being replaced by Received Pronunciation. I remember my late Mam balling at the broadness of my late sister’s dialect when she was chatting with her mates on the telephone. No mobiles then. My Mam encouraged us to have a “telephone” voice so we wouldn’t sound “so common!” Dialect for me provides metaphor, strength, muscularity and gives a sense of place. (Editor’s emphasis.) I know it is challenging but worthwhile. It is often painted as a comic device, used by lowly characters in plays and satirised by Monty Python in the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, however this micky taking has a long history. In the nineteenth century there were locally published Almanacs in which dialect was used for humorous purposes. Yorkshire folk love not taking themselves seriously. Yorkshire dialect is often shoehorned into rhyme. I wanted to use it in unrhymed poetry to hark back to our Norse ancestors.

JAMIE: Pride of place is obviously important to you. You’ve named your blog for the town in which you live.  Is the Yorkshire literary tradition – quite impressive from the Bronte sisters to Ian McMillan – an inspiration?

PAUL: I was dragged up by Yorkshire writers, studying Barry Hines “KES” in school,  Ted Hughes selected poems, Tony Harrison’s selected poems. Ian McMillan is often seen as a “professional” Yorkshireman, bigging up the county. He also has his tongue well and truly in his cheek when doing this, an aspect folk from other parts of the country don’t see. They view it instead as the over earnest promotion of “God’s country.”

I was not born in Wombwell but a small town between Harrogate and Knaresborough called Starbeck. You have to pass through it to get from one to the other. Starbeck is a place between tourist destinations. A “through” town.

From there we moved a lot to Darringto, a place by the side of the A1, close to a notorious black-spot for car accidents, to various places in Barnsley, Wilthorpe, Pogmoor, Ward Green, and the little village of Dodworth.

I love being settled in Wombwell and getting to know familiar customers in the supermarket where I work part-time. I love engrossing myself in the local history and culture, gaining a sense of belonging.

JAMIE: We’re coming close to putting a wrap on 2019.  What’s on your literary agenda for 2020?

PAUL: Hope to have the final part of  A Pagan’s Year finished. It will be called Ghost Holiday and be about pagan festivals and stories from August to December. This is in collaboration with my great Dutch friend and amazing artist Marcel Herms. Also on the agenda for 2020 is Skyfish, poems about delight written in response to the paintings of Iranian artist Hiva Moazed.

POETRY READING

If you are reading this from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view the video.

PAUL BROOKES (Wombwell Rainbow) is a shop assistant. He lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks are The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). First part of four connected books, other three unpublished as yet. Second book is made up of four short stories, already published in Alien Buddha Press’s short story anthologies ). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017.This is the first book of a threesome called “A Pagan’s Year”,and covers June and July) ,A World Where (Speculative poetry) and She Needs That Edge (narrative poetry) with Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (Sci-Fi poetry with OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls, responses to paintings by Marcel Herms (Alien Buddha Press, 2018),Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018)

Stubborn Sod, by Marcel Herms (paintings) and I,(poetry) ,(Alien Buddha Press, 2019.This is the second part of “A Pagan’s Year” January to May), As Folk Over Yonder ( ebook with Afterworld Books, 2019).  Forthcoming Skyfish, responses to paintings  by Hiva Moazed and companion book to “Port of Souls” (Alien Buddha Press, 2019)

Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

In case you missed it last night: Joy Harjo’s Inaugural Reading as U.S. Poet Laureate; Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“Way way back: Music, poetry and dance came into the world together. Sometimes they get lonely for each other.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading



Joy Harjo gave her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress last night. Here it is in case you missed it. (One-and-three-quarters hours. You might want to bookmark it for later.) It is an understated event, nothing Hollywood about it, which was refreshing and a relief from the usual broadcast noise. Harjo filled her presentation with history, a sense of place, and music as well as poetry.

Harjo accepted the award on behalf of herself, of course, but also on behalf of tribal women/indigenous women everywhere. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.

“Every poem has a poem ancestor.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading


Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

 

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of literary stars and emerging authors who represent the exciting world of literature today.

Participating poets include: Hala Alyan, Jericho Brown, Tina Chang, Nick Flynn, Rigoberto González, Ilya Kaminsky, Edgar Kunz, Sally Wen Mao, Ladan Osman, Jake Skeets, Sally Wen Mao, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, and Keith Wilson.

Drop by the Academy of American Poets booth (#321) at Brooklyn Borough Hall to pick up copies of Volumes 55 and 56 of American Poets magazine, purchase American Poets Prize–winners’ books for $5 each, and peruse discounted items from the Poets Shop. For more information about Academy events at the Festival, VISIT HERE.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Freely Accessible Sound-Cloud Playlist for 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Week Initiative, courtesy Michael Dickel and Randy Thomas

READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

Sep 23 at 12 PM – Sep 28 at 11 PM EDT

August 26, 2019: THANKS to Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) for putting together this post for us on behalf of The BeZine  and for his interview of Randy Thomas. This post was originally done for last year’s event, but the SoundCloud playlist is still up and has grown a bit. I’m posting it today to remind you of this charming resource. / Jamie Dedes



A SoundCloud playlist!

August 2018: Thanks to 100 Thousand Poets for Change co-founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, and especially to our 100TPC friend, Voice-Over legend Randy Thomas, we have the honor of presenting a compilation of children’s poems read by master Voice Artists and created for the 100TPC community in support of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Read A Poem To A Child initiative. / Michael Dickel


Randy Thomas and the other voice actors / voice over artists in the playlist (further down) volunteered their talent and time to Read a Poem to a Child!

Thomas started her career as a radio personality and DJ in New York, LA, Detroit, and Miami. She’s announced for the Oscars, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Entertainment Tonight, The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, The Kennedy Center Honors, and much more. You likely have heard her announce:

“You’re watching Entertainment Tonight!”

or

“Live from Hollywood, it’s the Academy Awards!”

Voice Announcer Randy Thomas
Source

The BeZine asked Randy Thomas a couple of questions about how this came to be:

The BeZineWhat inspired you to organize these wonderful readings by VO artists for Read a Poem for a Child?

Randy ThomasI am always intrigued when invited to use my voice in a positive way that gives back to the community. My dear friend Michael Rothenberg, a world-renown poet told me about his effort to share a poem with a child during one specific week. He found interest from all over the world. It’s wonderful.

The BeZine: You have inspired a number of voice artists to contribute their voices—how did that happen?

Randy ThomasThe Facebook community of voice actors and friends that I have seemed to rally behind this idea. We all have our own audio booths to record quality audio in, and they are all being so generous with their time and Voice sharing these poems. I am proud to have played a small part in this beautiful effort.

You can hear the amazing results below, in the embedded SoundCloud playlist.


Please feel free to play these recordings
for children around the world!

These may be played right here from this post or go HERE.



Thank you Randy Thomas
and brilliant VO artists
for sharing your talent for the children!



All audio ©2018 by the individual Voice Artists.
Poetry copyright belongs to the poet
or other current copyright holder.

Post text ©2018 TheBeZine.com and 100TPC.org
Link-sharing of the SoundCloud playlist is allowed.
Link-sharing or credited re-blogging of this post is allowed.
Readings in the playlist are provided for free personal use,
not for commercial purposes or paid events.
The audio may not be recorded or redistributed in any form
other than a link to SoundCloud without permission of the voice artist(s).


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton