Dear Mr. Poe

And his lover, Amontillado,

What did it mean

When it killed Fortunato?


Sad Mr. Poe

And your friend Melancholy,

Did Virginia know

That you bathed in violent folly?


Miserable Mr. Poe,

You lived awfully close to panic.

Your grotesque imagination

Left you steps away from manic.


Tormented Mr. Poe,

You withdrew from red society.

Is that because you knew

The deepest kinds of misery?


Dead Mr. Poe,

They found you in a gutter.

What horrors did you see

Before you left with flirt and flutter?


Author's Note: Edgar Allan Poe was incredibly emotionally withdrawn, especially toward the end of his life, due to a tragic, lonely past littered with abandonment, gambling, and loneliness. The first verse of “Dear Mr. Poe” specifically ties his short story “The Cask of Amontillado” to his own alcoholism that plagued his life. What does it mean that an alcoholic wrote about wine catalyzing a character’s brutal murder? The second verse references his wife and cousin Virginia. He was known to be a good husband, but this verse questions his outward actions in comparison to his psychotic affinity for violence in his writing. The poem goes on to discuss how he stepped away from social life, described as red in a nod to death in his famous short story, and turned himself into a bit of an angry recluse, drowning in poetry implying schizophrenia and stories of unjust killings. Finally, the poem addresses his mysterious death with a linguistic reference to the poem that turned him into a household name. What really happened to him? All of these components of poor choices, emotional ambiguity and numbness, and violent mystery synthesize to convey a message of someone withdrawn.