Poe: Stories and Poems

When I began to think how to review Gareth Hinds’s unusual rendition of Poe: Stories and Poems, I thought of the old bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

The old was obvious since Hinds takes the classic poems and short stories of Edgar Allan Poe for his graphic representations. Poe lived from 1809-1849 so there’s no question that these creations written more than a hundred years ago are aged.

The new is what he does with them. As he adds new graphic art to these seven old treasures, I was a bit skeptical about whether a visual would enhance Poe’s work, but convincing me didn’t take long. Before the stories and poems even start, the Raven sits on a spiky fence with an ominous tree branch behind him crossing the moon. I could almost hear him calling, “Nevermore.”

I would have thought “The Pit and the Pendulum” could not get any more terrifying than when I first read it, but as the sharp steel crescent of the pendulum grazes the protagonist’s chest in Hind’s picture, I found myself gasping. Other graphics for other works are equally impressive.

Something borrowed? These are Edgar Allan Poe’s works after all.

And blue? Maybe it’s not the use found in the bridal rhyme, but “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” conjure up feelings of being blue in their original state. Gareth Hinds turns that blue so dark it becomes navy with his rendition of the Raven atop Poe’s tombstone in the cemetery and in the series of pictures to make Annabel’s grave in the sea.

Poe and Hinds turn out a happy marriage, if I may carry the metaphor so far. If you love Poe, don’t miss this!

Historic notes at the end are interesting to any reader, but especially helpful for the teacher or librarian who wants to use this book with a class.