Poe Night

The Dickinson Review hosted “Poe Night” for anyone willing to read writings of legendary Edgar Allen Poe. Now, a two hour affair dedicated to the recitation of poems by a dead guy obsessed with a black bird, might seem daunting or unideal (I know it did to me), but to my pleasant surprise it turned out to be a safe space to appreciate art.

The people from The Review created a warm and inviting atmosphere, with low lighting and plenty of on-theme decorations like figurines and table clothes. I will say, the screeching spider that was triggered every time someone walked in the door put me into borderline cardiac arrest. The first 15 minutes or so were spent playing an unintentional game of chaotic music chairs, trying to fit everyone in the cramped space, drowned out with pleasant chatter and the smell of brownies.

Alex Lauff ’26 was the brave soul who stepped up to read first in the designated big, cushy chair. She opened the big, chunky book and read “The Tell-Tale Heart” with eloquence and clarity. To my surprise, Edgar may have been in his prime in the mid-1800s, but the writing is still digestible today. Though not necessarily timeless and it features occasional outdated vocabulary, it aged well. The level of pretentiousness was low enough to avoid zoning out. In fact, the listeners were so invested in the performance, they barely noticed Lauff accidentally started reading an entirely different essay.

Next was “The Raven,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” accompanied by some non Poe pieces in between, read by various students. People remained quiet and respectful, and the stories proved to be secretly humorous. Poe really liked to write about minor issues that happened to bother him to an alarming degree. There was a sprinkle of sexual inneuendos, that were most likely unintentional from Poe, but entertaining to the crowd. With the lack of judgment in the environment and well executed themed snacks (my personal favorite was a cake decorated to resemble the floorboards from the “Tell-Tale Heart”), it was an enjoyable evening. I may have been disappointed in the lack of candy provided, but the exceptional brownies and mini bubble dispensers made up for it.

You might not be a poetry buff or an English major, but this shouldn’t cause you to shy away from events like these.The most univiting part of the whole night was being audibly attacked by a large, plastic spider. I’d keep an eye out for the next one.