For some reason, I've been getting a ton of hits lately for people searching Google for explanations of Poe's poem "Annabel Lee". If any of these searchers are college students looking for an easy out on a homework assignment, well, I should say a couple of things:
:: I am a voracious reader who doesn't read enough poetry, which is why I do the "Poetical Excursions". The thoughts that I post there are fairly immediate impressions of a poem that I read (although, in the case of "Annabel Lee", I'd been nursing those thoughts literally for years). I am a lover of the written word and the English language, but those two things do not a scholar make. Do not assume that what I do here poses for scholarship, please oh please.
:: One person actually found me using the words "Cliff notes" in his search terms. The poems that I choose to write about aren't especially difficult works, so I suspect that people searching for that reason might be better served by actually reading the poems and doing their own thinking. Despite what some more brutish teachers of English may convey, the reading and consideration of poetry should be a pleasure, not a pill to be taken before bedtime.
:: Anyone who has any aspirations of being a fiction writer at all should read novels and stories to learn what storytelling is all about. That seems fairly obvious. Less obvious is that anyone who has any aspirations toward writing at all should read poetry -- to learn what the English language is capable of doing.