Here on the shores of Gowanus, Brooklyn, we are all awaiting the arrival of hurricane Sandy, wondering how many dead bodies may wash up on our doorstep when the canal overflows. It all feels appropriate for Halloween, somehow, and makes me wonder what kind of wild tale Edgar Allan Poe might have penned if he lived next to a superfund site. Poe has been on my mind for a few weeks, ever since I had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with Neil Gaiman talking about his work. We covered three famous pieces by the master of the macabre, all featured on this week’s special Halloween edition of Selected Shorts: “The Tell-Tale Heart” (read by Terrence Mann), “The Black Cat” and “The Raven” (both read by Rene Auberjonois). Neil Gaiman is a fearless explorer of the dark side, intelligent and witty, with an imagination just as wild as Poe’s. It was a treat to get his insight into these wonderful tales and to hear him talk about his own writing process. You can listen to the program at WNYC, on podcast at Selected Shorts, or on your local public radio station. For those wanting more, you can check out Neil Gaiman’s essay, entitled: “Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allan Poe,” or click below to listen to our extended interview, where Neil recites selections of Poe from memory, talks about the influence of the master on his own writing, and contemplates what would happen if Poe had made his famous raven a parrot. Happy Halloween!
Neil Gaiman on Poe, Parrots, Unreliable Narrators, and the magic of reading aloud: