Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Experimental Verses,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), p. 14 (This material is protected by copyright)


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On July 20, 1875, Edward V. Valentine wrote John H. Ingram from Richmond (Ingram List, no. 239); “I will give you ... some extracts from a letter written me by Mr. Thomas Bolling, Willow Bank, Nelson County, Virginia.” Bolling, a fellow student of Poe’s at the University, after telling of the poet’s interest in athletics and drawing, adds:

In his room when conversing with him, when with pencil he would be scratching something on paper ... he gave as a reason ... he was only trying to see if he could divide his mind, carry on conversation and write sense on a different subject. Several times on such occasions he handed me some verses he had written, and all that I remember about them [[is]] they rhymed pretty well.

Ingram told the story, but I give the above from the original manuscript, transcribed by Professor John C. Miller at the University of Virginia.

Another fellow student, Miles George, wrote in 1880 that when at Charlottesville Poe read to his friends “poetic productions of his own,” which were admired, and he mentions Poe turning quickly from writing poems to making sketches but says nothing of his trying to do more than one thing at a time. See A. H, Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe (1941), p. 108.





[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Experimental Verses)