Annabel Lee Essay

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David Kelly is an instructor of literature and writing at several community colleges in Illinois, as well as a fiction writer and playwright. In this essay, Kelly examines whether the verbal excesses of "Annabel Lee " are justified, or if the poem is just an exercise in cleverness for its own sake.

A sure sign of weak poetry—and if Edgar Allan Poe had any weakness as a writer, it was his poetry—is that it is padded with extra words that serve no purpose but to fill out its metrical scheme. The word "extra" is key here. We all think that we can recognize which words can be considered useless to a poem, but that concept is open and is constantly interpreted in different ways. The interpretation of what is necessary and what can be dismissed as filler seems to be at the root of the controversy about...

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This section contains 1,580 words
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Poetry for Students
Annabel Lee from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.