Friday, October 31, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Raven

Since today is Halloween, I thought this was appropriate. And we just covered Poe last week in my American Lit class, so it was on my mind. I wouldn't be surprised if several people turn this one in, but there you go. This is a great one to read aloud, I love the alliteration. Happy Halloween everyone!

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
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,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.`
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what threat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?
'Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Poetry Friday: Excelsior

Believe it or not, I'm spending most of the day today grading papers. So I came across a paper on this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Excelsior is Latin for "ever upward." So as I move ever upward through the stack of papers and grades, I hope you enjoy this poem.

"Excelsior" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye, B
ut still he answered, with a sigh,

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm Gone

Hey everyone!

Just a quick note to let you know I'll be away from my blog (and the internet) for a few days. I'm going on an internship expedition with my school so I hopefully actually get a job when I graduate....

Anyway, don't forget, Cybils nominations end soon!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Slight Political Diversion

I try to avoid discussing politics on this blog, but I am going to make an exception in this case. For those of you who don't want to go into this, you are welcome to come back later.

For everyone who is a California resident, chances are that you have heard of Proposition 8. Some of you may have noticed the link in my sidebar,, that deals with this very issue. I believe in the divine inspiration that marraige is meant to be between a man and a woman, and that changing this definition will have serious consquences on the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Please understand that I do not support this measure as a means of discriminating against same-sex couples. What every person chooses to believe is thier own right, even if I myself do not believe in it. I completely support these couple having full econmic benefits of a married couple. But I do not support the change of the definition of marriage.

For those of you who would like to understand more about my feelings on this matter, you can see a video put out to members of my church that describes it much more eloquently than I. I will be voting Yes on Proposition 8, because I feel it is the morally right action to take. This is a matter in which I believe strongly. The important thing is that you vote, that you make your voice be heard.

Please feel free to comment, but I want to post this reminder. I do not tolerate swearing or name calling on in any comments on any of my posts. If you disagree and wish to post about it, that is fine, but do it in a respectful manner. I will delete comments with inappropriate material if I have to. Please keep it respectful folks. That's all I ask.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

You Know I Have To Post This...

I can't believe that I'm the first person to post this, so my blog reader must be having issues again. Anyway, in the rare chance you haven't seen the Twilight trailer that came out today yet, here's your chance. This one will load much faster than the one on the offical site.

*EDIT* Okay, I fixed the link now. Enjoy

Reflections on Cybils Nominations

As you may know, the Cybils nominations are now open until October 15th. Since I'm on the panel this year, I pay a little more attention to the process than most people. It's been interesting to watch the process, although granted I'm paying more attention to the Fantasy panel, since that's the one I'm on.

In the past days I have noticed few things I'm surprised to see. First of all, we've gotten way more nominations for ineligible books this time around than previous year. I've noticed a lot more self-published titles too, though this is good since I like seeing every book get its chance.

That being said, there are a few books that I'm surprised haven't been nominated. Based on some of the reviews I've read around, I expected a few titles to be on there that aren't there yet. These include Cybele's Secret, The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin", The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1), and The Quest Begins (Seekers, Book 1) as well some others. It will be interesting to see if any of those end up on the list by October 15th...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Speaking of Nominations...

Thanks to TadMack over at Finding Wonderland for the laugh. And you know, Einstein has great advice. You should listen to him...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Don't Forget to Nominate!

If you haven't already, head over to the Cybils to nominate your favorite books. There's just a few rules you need to keep in mind:
  1. One nomination per person per category
  2. Books must be first published in 2008
  3. Bilingual books are okay, as long as one of the languages is English
  4. A book only needs to be nominated once

Nominations are only open until October 15th, so make sure you head over there and get it done right away. Remember, the number of nominations for one book doesn't matter. So if you're favorite book has been nominated already, choose something else. You can get more of your favorites nominated that way. :-)