And now to Poe.
Poe, Poe, and more Poe. Why do I like Poe? I know I have stated because he's a genius, but it is the whole of his descriptions that I love the most about his stories and poems. You can feel, see, know, and shiver at his descriptions, knowing his grief or his fear or his worst desires or tendencies. His writing is so human and unbelievably revealing. What is terrifying about "The Raven" is not the bird. It's just a bird. It is the main character's grief for his lost loved one that is so transparently horrific; his terror at his own loss. What did he see? The Raven mercilessly taunted him, not because it could, but because anything taunted his grief. Life itself taunted his grief over the lost Lenore. I think Poe's poetry reveals so much of his mind.
And his short stories reveal his deeper, darker thoughts. His descriptions are second to none for creating a mood of general spookiness.
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country.(The Fall of House of Usher)
I can picture this day perfectly.
Isn't there something so nearly unearthlike about an apt description? So closely tangible, and yet just out reach about the beauty of words? How can they evoke such fear? Such sympathy? Tears? Terror? I am in awe of words.
I recommend The Pit and the Pendulum (for fear and waiting terror), The Raven (for exhausting grief), and The Masque of Red Death or Hop-Frog (for horrific poetic justice). Good grief.
Go read some Poe.