Human on My Faithless Arm, Episode 3: Annabel Lee
Welcome back to Human on My Faithless Arm, a series in which I recite from memory great poems in English—specifically the poems I use as each night as lullabies for my infant daughter, Auden.
Episode 3, in which I introduce and recite Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” can be found below.
It is difficult for me to express the extent of my admiration for “Annabel Lee.” Perhaps this will do: no better poem has yet been composed by an American poet.
Believe it or not, a fair manuscript copy of “Annabel Lee,” the final poem completed by Poe before his demise in obscure circumstances in 1849, is held by Columbia University’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection. If you study this manuscript after listening to my recitation, you’ll see that this fair copy is an alternate version of the poem, different from the one I recite, in which a crucial phrase or two is transposed.
Image via Columbia University archives.
Thank you for listening. I hope you’ll join me for Episode 4 of Human on My Faithless Arm, in which I will introduce and recite the poem from which baby Auden derives the greatest pleasure, Sylvia Plath’s lyric poem, “Blackberrying.”
Daniel Bosch is Lecturer in English at Emory University and Senior Editor of Berfrois.