Recently I did a little research to prepare for the Edgar Allan Poe themed art show at the bookstore, which opens tonight and runs through the end of the month. I stumbled upon the most incredible illustrations by Harry Clarke from Tales of Mystery and Imagination. There’s a wonderfully strange beauty in his depictions of the grotesque, mad, and fantastic. The moments of anguish and terror he captured were quite stirring (and very appropriately matched with Poe’s haunting tales), and I sought to communicate that sentiment in my own piece as well. We have the book on order and I plan to devour it as soon as it arrives.
all images from 50 Watts
My collage for the show was inspired by the poem “The Haunted Palace” found in Poe’s story “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
In the greenest of our valleysBy good angels tenanted,Once a fair and stately palace—Radiant palace—reared its head.In the monarch Thought’s dominion,It stood there!Never seraph spread a pinionOver fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,On its roof did float and flow(This—all this—was in the oldenTime long ago)And every gentle air that dallied,In that sweet day,Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,A wingèd odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,Through two luminous windows, sawSpirits moving musicallyTo a lute’s well-tunèd law,Round about a throne where, sitting,Porphyrogene!In state his glory well befitting,The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowingWas the fair palace door,Through which came flowing, flowing, flowingAnd sparkling evermore,A troop of Echoes, whose sweet dutyWas but to sing,In voices of surpassing beauty,The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,Assailed the monarch’s high estate;(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrowShall dawn upon him, desolate!)And round about his home the gloryThat blushed and bloomedIs but a dim-remembered storyOf the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,Through the red-litten windows seeVast forms that move fantasticallyTo a discordant melody;While, like a ghastly rapid river,Through the pale doorA hideous throng rush out forever,And laugh—but smile no more.