I first saw Poe a while ago as an opening act for Seven Mary Three (no laughing!). After the show, my friends and I were walking down high street when we saw the bassist coming our way. I told him I liked the show and I thought they were great (or something like that), and he didn't even make eye contact. I got over it though, and went out and bought the CD the next day.

The first CD, Hello, was released in 1995 on Atlantic Records. It blends a lot of sounds, from the stark almost spoken poetry of That Day to the grinding guitars and chanting of Trigger Happy Jack. Poe's voice is very melodic and the range of styles on the cd somehow manage to work together.

In 2000, Poe released her second CD on Atlantic, Haunted. This is much more of a concept album. It deals with her relationship with her father, the well known filmmaker Tad Danielewski who died in 1993. The tracks are bound together with sound clips of his voice mixed in. It also attempts to tell a story as well, a similar story to her brother Mark Z. Danielewski's book The House of Leaves. Now, this may sound odd and put some people off, but it is truly an excellent album, one might even say groundbreaking. The concept alone works much better than I could even possibly hope to explain here, and the soothing vocals, the cohesive story, the production, the music, it all works together to form a very strong and creative album. It may be a bit much for the mainstream crowd, but for those who like to experiment, I think this is a very rewarding album.


Hello (Atlantic - 1995)

Haunted (Atlantic - 2000)

She has also lent her vocal talents to Fastball's All the pain money can buy, Khaleel's People Watching, and Lounge-a-Palooza, and has produced and sung songs for the Great Expectations and Anywhere but here soundtracks.

When escaped convicts Gale and Euelle stop at a gas station restroom to pomade their hair in the movie Raising Arizona, "P.O.E." can be seen scrawled on the door in the background--a subtle reference to Dr. Strangelove.

In Internetspeak, a Poe is a person engaged in a "Parody of Extremism" (apparently, I'm now told, a backronym for Poe's Law), going on social media and pretending to be somebody from a group which they despise and acting out all the worst tendencies of that group to so absurd an extent as to fall on the line of opponents actively wondering aloud whether such extremism can indeed be real. The practice supposedly originates with people purportedly pretending to be fundamentalist Christians, belligerently expressing the worst aspects associated with that belief (rampant scientific ignorance, homophobia and other forms of theologically justified bigotry, resort to circular argument and like logic errors).

A Poe thus presents a most quixotic paradox. Since their goal is to present a certain degree of extremism, they accomplish this primarily by arguing with and annoying people who hold the position opposite the extremism portrayed, to the point of exasperation. I recently landed in some turmoil simply by pointing out the tautological consequence of this fact. Specifically, an Atheist and a Christian (or a person presenting themselves as a Christian) were arguing about religion, as these sorts are wont to do. And at one point the Atheist arguer became so upset by the apparent intransigence of her foe that she accused him (or her) of being a Poe. Essentially, that is, of faking being a Christian because no real Christian could argue as blockheadedly as the opponent assertedly was. At which point I, simply as a passing bystander, noted that, if you're an Atheist and you're calling your debating opponent a Poe, what you're really contending is that they too are an Atheist -- one of your own group -- and that you've been wasting all this time debating somebody who is an undercover actual ally, a faux foe.

This observation got me soundly cursed out with a rich variety of variations of the F-word (by the Atheist, the asserted Poe or possible truly fervent Christian disappearing instantaneously from the conversation at that point), and her excoriations quickly attracted an echo chamber of the like minded (as Twitter outbursts sometimes do). One of them at least suggested that if the other arguer was indeed a Poe, this would be a disapproved tactic amongst the larger Atheist population (his exact wording was "if a guy walks into a church and murders a dozen people, and says he's an atheist, you're expecting me to say, "Oh, he's an atheist, he's okay then." We aren't a team"....) which is neither what I was suggesting, nor what I would expect. Ultimately, it is perhaps simply amusing that the concept even exists for a person who attempts to undermine a position by pretending to the extreme of that position. In the end, it must make one wonder, what if *most* of the intransigent arguers on the Internet aren't arguing anything except the opposite of what they believe?

I feel constrained to point out here that the prospect of a person being a "Poe" is unlimited in pretended persuasion. An Atheist could as easily pretend to be a fervent Muslim or Mormon or Jew; a Theist could pretend to be a foully-dispositioned Atheist; and people of opposing political persuasions, or, really, philosophical positions of any kind, could as readily carry out such a subterfuge -- and end up only arguing with their logical actual allies.

Po"e (?), n.

Same as Pol.


© Webster 1913.

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