Today I visited the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. It’s the largest collection of Poe artifacts anywhere. It’s a fascinating place.
I learned three things:
1. Poe revised his first published poem for 15 years, even after it was published. Yeats famously revised poems after they were published, but I didn’t know Poe did the same. Maybe I’m not as “picky” as I think.
2. The most money he ever made from writing was $50 he got for writing an introduction to a book on shells. What do you think of that, Dan Brown?
3. Poe earned $15 for his poem, “The Raven.” And it was this poem that made him famous. For several years now my husband and I have supported poetry prizes in the Poetry Society of Virginia’s annual poetry contest. First prize winners get $50 of the $100 we contribute. Some things haven’t change since the nineteenth century. Poetry doesn’t pay.