In 2000, Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground), theater director Robert Wilson, and a cast of singers and actors premiered Reed’s musical POEtry in Hamburg’s Thalia Theater. This was a combination of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems and stories and Reeds reinterpretations of some (with a few classic Reed songs such as “Perfect Day” and “The Bed” integrated for good measure).
In 2003, Reed released (under the title The Raven) a double CD reprising the musical, featuring an all-star cast of singers and actors including Steve Buscemi, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson. Willem Dafoe, and the Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as an edited single-CD version focusing on the songs.
Now, for the definitive book version compiling the songs, verses and narratives that comprise POEtry/The Raven, Reed commissioned legendary Italian illustrator and cartoonist Lorenzo Mattotti (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stigmata) to visualize this collaboration. “Mattotti’s vivid, abstracted and enigmatic artwork brings out all the terror and beauty of this centuries-spanning masterwork.”
In addition, Grammy Award-nominated designer Jesse LeDoux has created the jacket design.
The Raven (166-pages, full-color 9″ x 9″ softcover • $19.99) is distributed by Fantagraphics and is due at the end of the month.