Yes, “nevermore” is a little obvious, but today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, and the Poe Toaster did not show at Westminster Hall. So the “official” word is that the Poe Toaster tradition has ended. Here’s a link to an AP article: https://yhoo.it/zirEas What a testament to a writer born more than 200 years ago that so many people are still so interested in him.
I saw a portrait of a very young Poe at the National Portrait Gallery in DC where I was taking a mini-nerd trip for my birthday last week. I was surprised that this was a portrait of Poe because the painting of Nathaniel Hawthorne hanging adjacent looked much more like how I normally think of Poe.
The Poe House in Baltimore was one of the first blogs I wrote. Here are links:
https://bit.ly/zyX9pV (Part 1)
https://bit.ly/zdKaB5 (Part 2)
The Poe House is quite an experience! It’s really, really small and is not in the best neighborhood, but I found it to be very interesting. Displays in the house highlight some of the struggles of Poe’s life, including criticism of his writing and personal life. The previous Nerd Trips posts have details of some of the other things we learned and some of the kooky questions people ask.
One question I got to ask was the exact location of Poe’s death, which I knew was in Baltimore, but I hadn’t seen before. I got the answer, but still haven’t taken the time to take a look (although I have probably been by there. I am glad I wrote the location in the blog because now I can’t remember where they told me).
The hospital where Poe died is no longer there, and now the Poe House in danger of closing because funding has been cut. There are many people trying to save the Poe House, and the previous posts have links to some articles about these efforts.
My mom says she went to a Poe House in Philadelphia many years ago, so we’ll add that to this Nerd Trips list. There is a still a raging debate over whether Poe should be buried in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia or Richmond. I am obviosly partial to Baltimore. Again, I think it’s quite amazing that people today are arguing so passionately about a writer who lived so long ago.
Do you have a favorite Poe story or poem? We read a lot of Poe in my 11th grade American Civilization class. One of my favorites is “Ulalume,” mostly because it’s an interesting sounding name and it’s a piece that plays with words and sounds.
I remember some years ago I visited the Poe House in Richmond and they went on and on that he lived here the longest, playing down the other Poe houses. Being from Baltimore I couldn’t help quipping “Yeah, but Baltimore has the body.” That did not go over well! Cold stares for the rest of my tour.
Thanks Roger. Many of those guides feel very personally connected to the person!
I like it when guides admit that the person has flaws. Right now I recently went to the O.Henry house in Austin. O. Henry went to prison for embezzlement. I expected the guide to defend O. Henry, but he said, “Oh no, he probably did it!”