Poe and pumpkins at KWH

The Daily Pennsylvanian
October 30, 2008

Media Credit: Ted Koutsoubas
College junior Lee Huttner dressed up last night as Edgar Allen Poe and recited some of Poe's famous poetry, including "Raven," at the Kelly Writer's House Halloween-themed "Spookeasy."

The candle light, the raven perched on a shoulder and the rickety wooden furniture were reminiscent of a genuine speakeasy.

But despite the shady atmosphere and colorful characters, the scene was not set in prohibition-era America, but rather a "spookeasy," a Halloween-themed event hosted by Kelly Writers House.

And rather than illegal alcohol, it was Halloween-themed poetry and prose that was being peddled.

First behind the microphone was College junior Lee Huttner, who was dressed as macabre American poet Edgar Allen Poe, complete with a stuffed raven on his shoulder in homage to Poe's famous gothic poem, "The Raven."

Reciting Poe's "Dreamland," Huttner took the audience on a dismal journey through "Bottomless vales and boundless floods/And chasms, and caves and Titan woods."

Philadelphia resident Greg Miller continued the dark theme with a reading of his poem "In the Hood," a rambling, surreal tale in which classic horror-movie characters such as Dracula and Frankenstein interact in an urban landscape.

Next, Neuroscience graduate student Matt Young provided the audience with some respite with a reading from a book he is working on.

In the extract a young woman discovers an unprecedented feeling of freedom by lying naked under the moonlight and listening to all the things we are usually too busy to hear.

Wharton freshman and Daily Pennsylvanian writer Prameet Kumar continued the romantic theme with a recital of his own sonnet "Radiance," whose softly assonant lines told a tale of young love against a New York City nightscape.

But Huttner finished off the evening in the same dark manner it had begun with a recital of Poe's "The City in the Sea."

The poem told of a nameless city in which "From a proud tower in the town/Death looked gigantically down," before closing with the Devil descending and ruling over the world.

After the recitals, the audience discussed the various performances over Halloween-themed snacks such as ghost cupcakes, pumpkin sandwiches and hot cider.

"I liked [Kumar's] poem," said College freshman Caroline Acheatel. "I thought it was very sincere."

College senior Dan McIntosh also enjoyed the event.

"I liked it a lot," he said, "especially when people read out their own work."