Re­jec­tion Slips

On not get­ting into the New Yorker.

Poets and Writers - - Departments - By daniel wal­lace

“Once upon a mid­night dreary, while I pon­dered, weak and weary, / Over many a quaint and cu­ri­ous vol­ume of for­got­ten lore— / While I nod­ded, nearly nap­ping, sud­denly there came a tap­ping…” First pub­lished al­most two hun­dred years ago, Edgar Al­lan Poe’s nar­ra­tive poem “The Raven” was it­self par­tially in­spired by the raven in Charles Dick­ens’s novel Barn­aby Rudge and has gone on to spark nu­mer­ous ren­di­tions, homages, and par­o­dies. And the poem’s in­flu­ence has ex­tended far be­yond lit­er­a­ture, giv­ing a name to an NFL team (Bal­ti­more Ravens) and pro­vid­ing in­spi­ra­tion for a range of artists, from car­toon­ists (The Simp­sons and Calvin and Hobbes) to mu­si­cians (Lou Reed and the Grate­ful Dead). Write a poem that takes its cue from an el­e­ment of Poe’s verse that you are es­pe­cially drawn to­ward. Con­sider its themes of loss and de­vo­tion; the ex­ten­sive use of al­lit­er­a­tion and rhyme; the “nev­er­more” re­frain; clas­si­cal, mytho­log­i­cal, and bib­li­cal ref­er­ences; the ques­tion-and-an­swer se­quenc­ing; the sym­bol­ism of the raven; or the fore­bod­ingly dark at­mos­phere.

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