poe/fireside poets

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Could anyone help me in comparing and contrasting Poe's works and writing style with those of the "Fireside Poets"? Thanks!

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2003


Except for an unfortunate joke Poe didn't like he and Lowell were friends. Though he trashed Longfellow relentlessly and unfairly Poe still respected some of his work. However in poetry they were far apart in styleand on principle. Those poets favored moralizing and lesson teaching, long bulky works and less passion by far than Poe. Poe was adamantly set against preachy poetry or as a priumary vehicle for "instruction"> The value of poetry for Poe is beauty(sound, image, feeling, etc.)and what truth flows naturally from that. He preferred short, musical, suggestively vague and fantastic lyrics with his own unusual consistent emotional stamp, an excited or melnacholy terror or angst straining at the ultimates and the extreme- but as honest as it was disturbing.

Setting Poe's poems against ANY other writer, even the Dark Romantics, shows an unusual consistency of focus, avoiding the usual topics and lengthy forms even of poets he emulated like Byron and Shelley. One can compare Longfellow's explicit poem mourning the awfully tragic death of his wife to Poe's idealized poems on the subject, often not involving any specific woman's death. Their is a deep seated feeling and power that makes Longfellow look absolutely tepid. Yet Poe is abnormally self-centered in comparison. Perhaps it is the absence of moralizing, of being unable to accept or even see consolation or closure, of avoiding the frills, the unique blend of exhaltation and despair. And for a man keeping his intimate life close to his vest he seems just about the only genuine poete de soi(of self)for that generation.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

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