A NaNoWriMo Rewrite of The Raven

Raven Squawk by Doug Brown from FlickrNovember, for many somewhat crazy people out there, is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.

During this event hundreds of thousands of people pledge to write a novel in a single month. This never fails to amaze me and I always try and put some motivational posts up on the site throughout this time for all those brave souls.

I have posted a few projects over the years, but I always come back to the poem below, which I wrote in the style of Edgar Allen Poe’sThe Raven.”

“The Raven” is an odd poem for many reason, and one of great significance for Poe fans. It was “The Raven’s” success upon publication that led to Poe’s first book deal in five years, and its appearance in journals and papers across the country made Edgar Allen Poe a household name. Which is crazy considering it was published anonymously in its very first appearance.

“The Raven’s” structure is a complex mix of three separate meters and includes an internal rhyme as well as heavy alliteration.

Had I known about the ridiculous structure I probably wouldn’t have opted to use “The Raven” to base a NaNoWriMo poem on. But I did, and the piece below is the result.

Here again for all the NaNoWriMo participants out there, is my poem “Doubt,” based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.”

Joseph Devon


As you sit there never sleeping, at your keyboard often weeping,
Piling up your word count like a Herculean chore,
Late at night your face is scowling, while empty stomach it is growling,
You might sense something prowling, prowling at your cranium’s fore.
“My lack of sleep,” you’ll say, “is causing pain upon my cranium’s fore-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, what madness is November, every NaNoWri club member,
Lumbering like zombies as more coffee they do pour.
Wishing that the month was through, insanely they do all pursue,
A novel’s word count to accrue, accrue it in one month’s time and no more.
For all you at this task for just one month and then no more,
Please, closely heed verse five and four.

Late at night your tale grows stronger, while your face it does grow longer,
Fingers typing cross the laptop from your computer store.
As I mentioned, while you’re clacking, at the keys so madly tapping,
You might feel a distant rapping, rapping at your cranium’s fore.
Preying on your weakness as it raps upon your cranium’s fore,
There comes a monster with fearsome roar.

A word-count halting terror. Your project’s grim pall bearer,
Snorting and laughing at the plot holes you ignore.
Quickly moves this horrid beast, neither fettered nor policed,
Till your dreams lie there deceased, deceased and turned to ash upon the floor.
Your heart and dreams and vision turned to ashes on the floor.
The beast has fed, you’ll write no more.

Do take heed this warm advice, I’m trying quite hard to be nice,
Though I scare you with this monster slavering at your door.
You’re not alone here is my point, and this beast should not disjoint,
In fact he does anoint, anoint you to the club of writers all through yore.
This beast has crushed the spirits of every writer heretofore,
Its name is “Doubt” (we’ve met before).

So I demand that you take heart, as you practice at your art,
Wringing out your story like a soldier gone to war.
Proudly steel your trembling jaws, as you take on Doubt’s cruel claws,
Knowing that he gnaws, gnaws on you as well as all who came before.
Face him down, it is your right, not a task to be deplored.
Trust in yourself, and let your artwork soar.


  1. Thank you. I needed that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A.M. Denholm says:

    This is amazing. I adore the Raven too and this…brilliance ๐Ÿ™‚