I've never been to Baltimore except to change planes, but I'm ready to go after reading Laura Lippman's In a Strange City, a mystery with the Poe Toaster at its center. For more than fifty years, a visitor has left three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave; he (or she) comes in the wee hours of the morning on Poe's birthday (January 19th). Lippman takes this tradition and runs with it, giving her heroine, private investigator Tess Monaghan, an education in the life of the famous author and encounters with more than one eccentric Charm City resident. Oh, and a murder at the graveyard starts things off.
In a Strange City is smart and witty, and obviously filled with literary references, and I look forward to reading more of Lippman's mysteries. For Poetry Friday I've chosen Poe's "Alone," which figures in the novel's plot.
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent of the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
The roundup of links to poems and poetry talk posted at other blogs today is at Lisa Chellman's blog, Under the Covers.