Poe's Poetry

The Coliseum (1833)

"The Coliseum" explores Rome as a past glory that still exists in imagination. Poe submitted the poem to a contest sponsored by the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, which offered a prize of $25 to the winner. The judges chose a poem submitted by editor John Hill Hewitt under the pseudonym "Henry Wilton". Poe was outraged by what he considered nepotism; Hewitt later claimed that the two had a fistfight in the streets of Baltimore, though no evidence proves the event.[8]

Despite the controversy, "The Coliseum" was published by the Visiter in its October 26, 1833, issue.[9] It was later incorporated into Poe's unfinished drama Politian.

In a July 1844 letter to fellow author James Russell Lowell, Poe put "The Coliseum" as one of his six best poems.

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