Tag Archives: edgar alan poe

“The Devil In The Belfry” by Edgar Alan Poe

The writer, Edgar Alan Poe is noted for his tales of horror and his dark poetry. Those thinking of Poe will, in all probability recollect his dark poem “The Raven” and stories such as “The Fall Of The House Of Usher”. Po was, however also capable of satire as is demonstrated by his short story “The Devil In The Belfry”.

“The Devil In The Belfry” is a satire on a small dutch town in which nothing changes. The inhabitants of the place are contented to live with their clocks which all keep perfect time and are governed by the timepiece in the steple of the town hall, the latter being attended to by a very important gentleman who is looked up to by the townspeople.

The good people of this unchanging world find joy not merely in clocks but also in cabbages which proliferate in the place. Indeed these nourishing vegetables grow not only outside but can also be found adorning the mantlepieces of every home.

Fun for the boys in the town consists of appending watches to the tails of cats and pigs, while their fathers smoke contentedly on leather bottomed chairs and the women cook indoors. But, unhappily this blisfull life is turned up-side-down.

To read Poe’s story please visit, http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/poe/belfry.html

What Is To Write – Guest Post By Anum Safique

Many thanks to Anum Safique for her excellent guest post. Anum’s blog contains a wealth of poetry and other writings many of which have a dark and/or a mysterious theme. You can visit Anum’s blog here, http://atopsyturvyworld.wordpress.com/



What is to write?
Writing is not so different from reading. It is only a stronger dose of catharsis. Picking up a beautiful book to read that makes you cry and laugh at the same time, that brings out pent up emotion can be wonderfully relieving. However, it can never match the experience of bleeding out your feelings through the pen.

As a young girl, I used to read fantastical stories about fairies and witches, magic and dragons. I used to love reading about parallel worlds and imaginary creatures. I remember there was a time that I used to live my life through the eyes of Harry Potter, wishing for the existence of Hogwarts and dreaming of one day finding its magic. Then I discovered Narnia, and well let’s just say that I was inspired to dream even more. No matter how much stories about magical worlds, parallel dimensions, vampires, werewolves, fairies and angels inspire me to create my own tales, they never inspired me enough to get down to writing. Instead there were two novels I read in my literature classes that truly got me to start creating stories of my own.

I still write about fantastical creatures and worlds that possibly never existed or will never exist, but what inspired me to begin writing were two novels exploring the human mind. The first one that shall always remain one of my favorite reads of all times is William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. It was a journey into the darkness that resides within every human soul. It was the discovery of the beast that we look for in the world beyond ourselves, but which is a part of us that we never acknowledge or embrace.

The second book was Margaret Atwood’s “Cat’s Eye”, which was one of the most interesting psychological novels I have ever come across. The fact that it was about the journey of a woman through life enabled me to relate to it. However, it was the protagonist’s cathartic expression through art which truly intrigued me, and I shall admit that I started sketching before I began to write. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that art was not really my form of expression; or rather my hand was never able to create what my mind envisioned; or even more I accurately, I doodled. *Shrugs*

So my next try was to write fanfiction, and surprisingly, people actually liked what I wrote. But writing novellas while acing your university exams was not a piece of cake, so my commitment to writing was tested and I ended up abandoning my fanfiction ventures. However, as Allen Curnow articulates through his poem “Continuum” that someone who closes the door on the artist inside them can never really get rid of that part of themselves. It follows them behind like a haunting ghost.

Consequently, I switched styles and started writing poetry. I still write about the same things but poetry takes less time to type yet admittedly, more time to think. But for some reason, perhaps, that the tone and rhythm of poetry matches that of your soul, it enables you to express more than prose could ever manage.

More recently, I have gathered inspiration from music and lyrics. My favorites being the eccentric songs of “Panic! At the Disco” and the dark yet amazing albums of “30 Seconds from Mars”. Their music may not be very mainstream but if you actually get to listening to the poetry in their verses, your mind will be blown away at the genius of it all. To be able to express the ordinary in an extraordinary has always been my hobby. To play with words is the best game I have ever played. And I believe that everyone should give it a try.

Coming back to the original question, what is it to write? It is dreaming. It is expression. It is catharsis. It is relief. It is art. To write is to put a piece of your soul on paper and let others read it, and interpret their own souls through it. It is discovering the beast inside you and it is the taming of your darkness. It is a game. And undeniably, it is beautiful.

Last but not at all the least, I would like to thank Kevin for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with his readers. Also for honoring me by reading my poetry and enjoying my play with words.

Anum Shafique


The Thing Behind The Door Review

I vividly recall as a child sitting in the darkened school library reading Edgar Alan Poe’s “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” and feeling a chill run down my spine at the thought of the continuing beating of the dead man’s heart in Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”. There is something chillingly wonderful about frightening oneself half to death. Attending a boarding school I recollect lying in bed in the dormatories with their wooden floors telling and listening to others relate tales of ghosts and ghouls. Having listened to such stories it was no easy matter to pass a peaceful night’s sleep as my dreams where inhabited by things which go bump in the night.

“Great British Horror” Volume 1 will not disappoint those who enjoy the horror genre. I have only read the first story, “The Thing Behind the Door” and I am hooked already. John a boy who has suffered terrible bullying at the hands of 3 fellow pupils during his attendance at a brutal school takes a hideous revenge on his tormentors and their children. The story begins prosaically enough with John feeling a sense of relief at the death of the parents who maltreated him. However the tale soon takes a darker turn with John determining to kill the children of Clayton, Louise and Jennifer, the people who tormented him during his school days. John either consciously or unconsciously summons “the thing behind the door” which exacts a terrible vengeance by killing the innocent children of John’s former tormentors. We never see “the thing” clearly. It is a mere shadow on the wall or, more frequently a menacing presence pervading the derelict school to which Clayton, Louise and Jennifer return in order to kill John who they know will be there. The story ends in blood and gore with all the protaganists meeting grizzly ends. Throughout the narrative it is the satanic presence, “the thing behind the door” which dominates although it is only fleetingly glimpsed by the people in the story.

“The Thing Behind The Door” is a chilling tale of what can happen when evil begets evil. The cruelty of Louise, Jennifer and Clayton comes back to haunt them and their families with a terrible vengeance. There is no humanity in this tale, only death and darkness.

On a positive note all the proceeds from the sale of the book go to Centrepoint a charity which helps young homeless people in the UK.

For “Great British Horror” Volume 1 please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-British-Horror-Volume-ebook/dp/B00E3D6CH0. My collection of short stories, “The First Time” is free in the Kindle store from 4-8 October, http://newauthoronline.com/2013/10/04/free-book-promotion/