How to write a Blackwood Article is one of the few attempts of Poe at humour, great dark humour, that is!
Normally paired with it’s prequel, The Predicament, it tells the story of the doomed Signora Psyche Zenobia. This nifty and strong-willed character, fitted in a crimson satin dress, with a sky-blue Arabian mantelet, is the secretary of “Philadelphia, Regular, Exchange, Tea, Total, Young, Belles, Lettres, Universal, Experimental, Bibliographical, Association, To, Civilize, Humanity” or P.R.E.T.T.Y.B.L.U.E.B.A.T.C.H. society, for short. Before Signora Psyche’s time, P.R.E.T.T.Y.B.L.U.E.B.A.T.C.H. wrote substance-less papers, so she makes it her mission to increase the weight of her papers by seeking advice from Mr. Blackwood, editor of the renown and respected Blackwood Paper.
Mr. Blackwood advices Signora Psyche to get herself “into such a scrape as no one ever got into before” and to describe her sensations during the scrape, after describing all of the captivating “bizarre” stories he’s published. This means Signora Pysche Zenobia must wander around and seek adventure; an adventure, though, worthy of tale-telling. Signora’s yearning to experience an enthrilling venture ultimately leads to her death in the most freakish manner, just for the prosperity of her paper! Blackwood’s short story sarcastically punctures sensationalized writing and critisizes the extent at to which a writer is willing to reach, to create an honorable article.
Norfolk-based artist, Nom Kinnear King, depicts Signora Pysche’s destiny gracefully in her Poe piece “Blackwood”. The color palette is reminiscent of the aesthetic of Signora’s era and Nom’s attention to detail, aswell as her clever decision for perspective, transmits the idea that there is a back-story behind; worthwhile a read!