18 pages 36 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1849

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Literary Devices

Form and Meter

“Annabel Lee” is comprised of six stanzas, all of which rely on irregular rhyme schemes—the long lines are often unrhymed, while the short lines always rhyme—which creates a unique tension between the work’s structural tendencies and its emotional free-spiritedness throughout the poem. In addition, with Poe’s consistent metrical employment of anapests (two unstressed syllables succeeded by a stressed syllable) and iambs (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable), “Annabel Lee” is a poem which—as enjoyable as it is to read silently upon the page—is thrilling to read (or hear read) aloud.

A unique component of the form of “Annabel Lee” is the fact that each of the poem’s six stanzas comprise a complete sentence. In other words, the poem is six sentences long, and each of those sentences successfully employ enjambment in order to help create drama and tension at key moments in each of the stanzas.

Finally, the form of “Annabel Lee” is one of the earlier instances of narrative poetry in 19th century American poetry: It tells the complete—from beginning to end—story of its central characters in a compressed space.