why did poe become a poet????

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What made Poe want to become a poet in the first place? He didnt just wake up one morning and say "GEE I feel like being a poet" Can anybody help me??

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2001



I would suppose that most would agree with you that Poe's determination to become a poet did not occur on a single morning. I'm sure it probably took at least two or three mornings. Seriously though, it appears that his choice of careers was an early choice, made while still in his teens. Extraordinarily intelligent, well read and very well educated, Poe had been steeped in the classics, history and Greek and Roman mythology. By the time he was in his mid to late teens, he had become intimately familiar with the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley and Coleridge, all of whom fed his remarkable imagination and idealistic nature. In late 1829, he wrote a letter to John Neal, poet, critic and owner of The Yankee and Boston Literary Gazette in which he opens...

"I am young, not yet twenty, am a poet, if deep worship of all beauty can make me one, and wish to be so in the common meaning of the word. I would give the world to embody one half the ideas afloat in my imagination."

While Neal's response was somewhat positive and encouraging, it would be years before his poetry was widely recognized and accepted in Northern literary circles and not until the publication of "The Raven" in January 1845 that he was taken more seriously as a poet by the public at large. Until this time he was more widely known for his short stories but best known as a literary critic without equal. Exceptionally discriminating and perceptive, he could be generously gracious with his praise but he could also be exceedingly caustic and viciously cruel.

As to why he chose poetry, one can only presume that he felt he had something to say, something to contribute to the art of his passions.


-- Anonymous, May 27, 2001

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