Thursday, October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Poe Returning to Boston

On October 5th, just three days from today, a statue of Edgar Allan Poe will be unveiled in downtown Boston. It is to be installed in Poe Square, at the intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street South. The sculpture was designed by Stefanie Rocknak and it is gorgeous. It has been titled "Poe Returning to Boston" and it is situated where Poe would have walked in order to get to his birth home. I am excited, which is why I picked Edgar Allan Poe for our throwback thursday artist this week.

Throwback thursday is a phrase that kids these days (get off my lawn!) use when sharing a picture of themselves that is no longer current. My mom and I have decided that for this blog, throwback thursday will be the day of the week when we post about an artist (be him/her a painter, poet, novelist, photographer, musician, lyricist, balloon animal technician, belly dancer, or sandwich artist) who continues to inspire us, despite no longer being alive. We are constantly being inspired by a wide range of artists, because “ART” is vast. Those three letters pack a big punch. 

Edgar Allan Poe was most definitely an artist. 

The first time I learned about Poe was shortly before Halloween in 5th grade. I remember it well because the way he was presented left me completely fascinated. My teacher had announced that we were going to have a special Halloween celebration that required parental approval. (Oooh!).  She warned it might be scary, and reminded us that we could leave the room at any time and sit down in the hallway. (This was starting to sound cool). She pointed out the three slacker students who had not turned in a parent's signature of approval, and said that they would have to leave the room. (Yes! Ha!). She then escorted them into the hallway with books to read for the next twenty minutes. This was already quite thrilling. My brilliant teacher then turned out the lights, returned to her desk and pressed play on a cassette player. What followed was a dramatic reading of "The Raven" and "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. 

Needless to say, I was enthralled, especially by "The Tell Tale Heart." It's not every day in 5th grade, that you get to sit in the dark and hear a murderer calmly discuss why and how he killed an innocent man. The readings were dark, fascinating, and beautifully spoken. If you have only read Poe's work silently to yourself, I am sorry to say, you have never fully experienced Poe. The difference in hearing the rhythm to his poems and short stories is essential to comprehending their full beauty. If you are interested, I'd recommend doing a youtube search to listen to some of his poems and tales. There are some great readings on youtube voiced by Vincent Price, Christopher Walken, and James Earl Jones in particular. 

Of course, Poe did not only write sad poems and horror stories. He also wrote great detective stories, and even comedy. Many have acknowledged Poe as being the first to pen 'the modern detective story'. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes stories, admitted that Poe was a huge inspiration to him.

My Mother's Poe inspired oil painting
To this day, Edgar Allan Poe continues to inspire artists in many ways. Not only is Boston getting a beautiful statue, but it seems that almost every day I notice something new: I am currently wanting this hilarious sweater, I recently purchased a beautiful set of Raven bookends at 'Fireside Book Shop' in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and I have been known to drink Black Raven Tea by Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

Of course, my mother has not been immune to his influence. About a year ago, when Poe came up in conversation between us, she admitted to knowing very little about the details of his life. I regret that I reacted a bit obnoxiously by spending the next few hours emailing her informative articles. Sorry Mum, I couldn't help it. He certainly led a fascinating life, but it's interesting to note that his reputation as a 'moody gothic drunk' might not necessarily be accurate. It seems a lot of rumors surround his personality and manners, but one thing is certain: His writing remains relevant and inspirational to many.

After I hounded my mother with details about Poe, I was pleased to see that she had made a beautiful oil painting depicting a scene from The Raven. At least, I'd like to think that the inspiration for this painting came from The Raven, and not from the great despair I caused her with my endless tedious articles. I'd like to know, is there any topic that you can't help obnoxiously 'educating' people on, even when you know it might be considered rude? I usually know when to remain quiet and respectful. However, when it comes to something I am truly passionate about, my politeness vanishes.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back in a few days for Sidetrack Saturday. In the meantime, my mom and I have been working on setting up her new page on Seller Group, which is an exciting new site with some great artists, and I just noticed that she forwarded me a link entitled "10 British Actors Reading 10 British Poems" that I am about to investigate!


No comments:

Post a Comment