Timberland Reads Together - 2010 - Edgar Allan Poe

Timberland Reads Together

October 2010

Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Join us for the sixth annual Timberland Reads Together  

Read any collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works and attend free book discussions, performances and programs at your local Timberland libraries. Many editions and copies—including print, Spanish, and audio—are available at the library.

The kickoff event, An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe: The Poet’s Journey, by award-winning Washington playwright Bryan Willis and starring critically acclaimed actor Timothy Hoban, was at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia on Monday, October 4 at 7 p.m.

See additional performances by Hoban and enactments of A Tell-Tale Heart by award-winning storyteller Christopher Leebrick.

There are over 90 other Poe-related programs at the 27 Timberland libraries and other venues throughout October. 

Timberland Reads Together (TRT) is a month-long program held each October to promote and celebrate reading and community.

About Edgar Allan Poe

Without Poe, the literary arts of horror, adventure, detective, and science fiction—and, arguably, the short story itself—would have developed very differently. In addition to fiction in several genres, he wrote as famous a poem as American literature can claim. He practiced literary criticism as fine art, blood sport, and, with a series of female poets, the highest form of flirtation. If the movies had existed in the nineteenth century, he might have written screenplays as well—and bedeviled his producers as reliably as he did most of his editors.

Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, perfected the horror tale, and first articulated the theory of the modern short story as well as the idea of pure poetry. A hero of Dostoevsky, Baudelaire, and Nabokov, Poe has never been entirely respectable to American critics because of his twin “faults”: being too eccentric, and too popular among common readers.

It’s time to say the obvious. No author stays internationally popular for 150 years by accident. Poe is one of the classic authors of American literature—a master of the short story, a magician of the short poem, and a critic of brilliance and originality. And no small part of his artistic sleight of hand is that he appeals to readers from childhood to old age. Let us underestimate him nevermore!

~excerpted from The Big Read Reader’s Guide to Edgar Allan Poe

Websites about Poe

- Poe Museum
- Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore (Complete works online)
- Stories & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe Radio Show
- Stories & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe - Reader's Guide
- Poe Studies Association
- The Baltimore Poe House and Museum
- Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
- The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

Edgar Allan Poe books, DVDs, audiobooks in the library

- By Poe
- About Poe

Download Poe eBooks or Audiobooks

- TRL Download Collection
- Project Gutenberg

Free TRT events in your library

Tim Hoban performs "An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe: The Poet’s Journey"

Chris Leebrick performs a Tell-Tale Heart

All TRT Poe Events 

Poe book discussions

Movietime - Poe movies at the library

Poe Poetry Slams & Readings  



Books Discussion Questions

  1. Poe’s works are haunted by death. Sometimes even his speakers are dead. How does this affect the tone of his work? Does it add suspense or take away from it?
  2. Listen closely to the sounds of Poe’s poems “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven.” How does his use of sound influence your reading of the poems?
  3. Do the narrators from “The Black Cat” and “The Cask of Amontillado” deserve what they get? Do the characters around them? What might this say about Poe’s view of the world?
  4. In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” why does Poe spend nearly two full pages on Roderick’s performance of “The Haunted Palace?” What changes do you notice in the language and content?
  5. In “The Pit and the Pendulum,” how does the narrator’s clever idea of smearing food on the straps holding him down, so as to induce the hungry rats to chew him loose, anticipate the climactic maneuvers of heroes in suspense and action-adventure stories today?
  6. Are the narrators of “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “William Wilson” sane? Do you like the stories better if they’re hallucinating, or if they aren’t? Why?
  7. Poe often writes about the death of a beautiful woman. His own wife was ill for most of their marriage and died at a young age. How might this affect the emotional intensity of his writing?
  8. “The Masque of the Red Death” was originally published as “The Mask of the Red Death.” What is a “masque,” and do you think the pun was intentional?
  9. Poe’s essay, “Philosophy of Composition,” details how he came to write “The Raven.” Do you believe him? Why or why not?


SpeakerHear about Edgar Allan Poe at TRL


Tim Hoban performs at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia, October 4, 2010.


About Timberland Reads Together

Previous TRT programs

TRL Great Reads

All TRL book & author programs