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The I was there presents why as a writer why as a writer is produced by radio station and direct grant from the educational television and radio center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's program on site. You're Alan. Oh yeah you're the poet and short story writer saying I was born in eighteen hundred and DA I know you died in 1849 on a street in Baltimore. Well I couldn't write the help it I knew at the time that wasn't the place for a Southern gentleman to fall dead. Of course I understand. I always thought you always thought well I thought when I was young that I'd die in a great soft bed pillows beneath me a warm quilt. Yes I would have liked that maid of Richmond soft feathers but all this is hardly
fit and conversation quite the opposite Mr. Poe. Well I'm interested in me. Well definitely. People are still interested in what you wrote your poetry my poetry. Oh yes you know I used to like the raven the most but I've changed my mind in the last 100 years. Which do you think the best now. Oh there's no such thing as best. It's merely what I like. Do you see. I think so. And which do you like most when it begins. It was many and many a year ago Annabel Lee. You know it's splendid and doesn't it remind you of the sound of the ocean itself. It was many and many a year ago in a kingdom by the sea that a maiden there lived whom you may know by the name of Annabel Lee and this maiden she lived with no other thought than to live and be loved by me.
Yes I've always enjoyed that and the closing line. For the moon never be without bringing me the dreams of the beautiful and the stars never. But I feel the bright eyes of the beautiful and. I've often read them to myself. You have but who are you. You know me. I'm not any one in particular. That's rather interesting so then why do you seek me out. There are certain things that people want to know about you. Oh I'm flattered. Yes to be sure there are flattering things. So that's the way it is. There were always stories about me I had enemies. But but that's been a hundred years surely the poems mean something to people yet. Oh I know I know what some people say that poem that fake poetry he just wrote because he could sell it. Yes I've heard that. Oh I wish I could take those people back back. Yes back I suppose.
Oh it was an age twenty. Excuse me I don't give money to bankers. You needn't bother to ask money. Oh no no you don't see. Well I'm looking for the publisher the publisher which publisher and Cary do you mean Carrie Lee and Carrie. Well the name was suggested to me. There may be another Carrie and I'm sure there is. And well they are right through the doorway directly in back of you. If you take the trouble to turn that way. Oh I thank you. Yes to be sure. Oh good morning. Oh good morning. Yes sir can I help you. Well I'm a poet a poet a my poetry is right here I would like it published as some of Mine's already been published way of Richmond
Virginia. Yeah and what keeps you from publishing there again. What brings you to Baltimore. Well I'm staying with my Aunt Maria Clem you know her you know. I have the poems here as I say. Well have a chair Mr. Edgar Allen Poe Mr. Poe. How much did you plan the spam spam spam spam to publish your poems. I've got no money to spend I was willing to share some of the profit share some of the profits. Mr. Kerry it wouldn't be a large airy book but a business proposition. Business proposition this time. Oh oh excuse me. Oh I didn't know there was anyone young Mr. Powell's kindly offered to let us publish this poetry poem exactly. You see Mr. Poe you have no name and you haven't looked at the poetry.
Oh I did see your joke Mr. Poet least as serious. Well I will leave oh and don't you see no one publishes poetry in America. No one no one will buy it and second no one rates it. They do read the English poets the English poets are the English poets Mr. PODE is not quite come pay I'm afraid. Yes I suppose the point is that there was no demand less Mr. Poe is willing to guarantee that we shan't lose by it. Well I simply don't have any money to put up. Perhaps I can write to my father. Does he approve of your writing poetry. Where is their money. I can try. I sho try. Dear father I know how you feel about my wasting my time with poetry. Yes I'm sure you'll be glad to know that the famous writer William Wirt has encouraged me to bring my poetry before the
eyes. In reply to your request. I can not strongly enough express my feeling against your habits of laziness or against your ill conduct. What have you done with the last money I sent. You must be prudent and careful. Forget about poetry. You see I was right in my kind of poetry before anyone was willing to publish it. And your father. Well he did adopt me when I was very young. I fear he never understood that poetry. Well it has its own meaning you know. And yet you did have success. Oh yes lady. But I was always always you know there was never enough money. And then my wife but before that before that. Well they say Who are they. It's more than a hundred years. What do I care what they said. People very often don't understand you see. Yet there were things you did. Oh of course a man must live. I did what I
could. I wrote edited I went here and there I made enemies I attacked. I was sick my dear wife died. I was sick and I was human. And what difference does it make now. Well they say they say why do they say anything. The Poetry says what I wanted to say to them. Do you know why you're a loon. I don't recall it clearly. Oh good it's not clear it's sad it's sad and melancholy because that's how I felt. The skies they were ashen and sober the leaves they were crisp in the sea or believes they were with the rain and severe it was night in the lawn Some told one of my most immemorial year. It was hard by the dim lake of arbor in the misty mid region of. So Mr. Kerry you printed one of Poe's first books.
Yes that was in Baltimore. And 20 years ago almost. But of course he wasn't so famous then famous. Well maybe he is pretty well known since he's come to New York. You say that as if I didn't like him. Oh no. I've got no strong feelings against him although he's a little arrogant to talk to. I suppose that comes with success. Success is a fickle thing Mr. Kerry. Don't judge by appearances. I'm not quiet so I'm not clear enough. It can be put plainly. Mr. Pole has enemies. Oh Jesus. Or rather Mr. Powell has gone out of his way to make enemies. His criticism for one thing is widely read though. Oh yes. But do you know what they call him the broad axe man. Have you seen his attack on Longfellow. I can't say that I have. No wonder he seems a success to you. But what he can say such things of the New England poets against Mr. Emerson too he's a high strung. Don't I know it. He charms the ladies so. Oh no Harmon I'm understanding. I understand.
I don't quite know that they talked about you like that but they thought my criticism unfair. They were much stronger feelings than that. Surely you must have. Well sometimes thought of it for my health was bad. I had to put up a front front. Now of course you don't believe do you believe it. It makes no difference now. Why do you say that. Why do I say that. Why why why why do you ask me these questions. My life is an open book. You can judge without asking me. That's just the point you see. There are undecided undecided about what about the value of your work. Are you mad. Can't they read. Why must they remember stories about a man's work speaks for itself. Doesn't it. Sometimes it doesn't. What do you mean. My
enemies are gone. There it's been a hundred you are paid for my fall but don't you see Mr. Poe a writer like you who doesn't have a personal life. His life his work. Well they become mixed together. See Don't be discouraged. Times change opinions change when they find out more of the facts they will not be happy fact. So my life was not happy and yet all that is over over. You just said it's not over. It's over for you. Then what matter they are still undecided. That's why they sent me to laugh at me. No sir to ask you to speak to speak in your own defense. A special favor perhaps a little special. It was down by the lake Rob. But that's your poetry Mr poem the misty humid region all of when you poll.
Oh yes. Have you no other answer for the undecided. Yes for the undecided. No sir. No alliance. Only the poll. This has been another educational broadcaster speaking.
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Why is a writer?
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, "The Undecided," focuses on Edgar Allan Poe.
Series Description
Produced by the Iowa School of the Air, this series focuses on various works of literature from Shakespeare to Twain.
Broadcast Date
Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849--Poetic works.
Media type
Actor: Stribling, Don
Actor: Morris, Greg
Actor: Armstrong, Elmer
Actor: Wilkins, Fred
Announcer: Carter, Dave
Director: Walcoff, Larry
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Writer: Horowitz, Floyd
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: S60-6-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30?
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Chicago: “Why is a writer?; Undecided,” 1960-10-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 28, 2023,
MLA: “Why is a writer?; Undecided.” 1960-10-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 28, 2023. <>.
APA: Why is a writer?; Undecided. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from