I am releasing this poem on Halloween, because it is indeed a horror story. In fact, it was so terrifying that when the young Mary Shelley first heard a reading of it, she hid behind a chair. Today, this poem may not terrify us in the way that it did people at the time, but I will be making two big arguments as to why you should challenge yourself to read poems like this even if you at first do not like them.
Coleridge's Mariner may be one of the most influential poems of the British romantics. Not only is there a popular Iron Maiden song but much gothic literature of the 19th century, from Frankenstein and Dracula to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The House of the Seven Gables and the Fall of Usher was inspired by this poem. In fact, Coleridge's Mariner brings a major new strain of literary experience onto the scene.
In this episode I will give you the arguments to read poems you don't like, provide a summary of the poem, read a special version of the poem, give you the origin story of the poem, some ways to understand the poem as well as a breakdown of its ideology and the influence it held.
So yes, this is a big episode, prepare yourselves!
"Listen, Stranger! Storm and WInd,
A Wind and Tempest strong!
For days and weeks it play'd us freaks--
Like Chaff we drove along."
Do not be chaff driven along by a tempest. Understand this poem by listening to this episode.