The Sister surmised our relationship with Edgar Allan Poe quite nicely the other day. “He’s like a relative. He’s not our favourite relative, but we keep him close, ya know. He’s just part of the family.” I do not know if most Americans feel this way. It seems that everyone knows of him, but most people either seem completely obsessed by him, like they’re his little fan girls, or either can’t be too sussed about him. My sister and I are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
To be perfectly honest, while I grew up reading his work and am sort of fond of him, it was only recently that I realized his middle name wasn’t spelled with like Allen with an E. I know, I need to pay attention to details… I’m working on that, but I’m definitely not fan girling over the guy if I don’t even properly (until) recently know his name!
However, I do dig the guy and his work. Besides growing up reading his works, I named my cat after him a few years ago.
Everyone… meet Jupiter Poe. Named for the character Jupiter in The Gold-Bug from 1843, and Poe’s surname. He knows his full name, but he’s generally referred to by a myriad of names such as simply Poe, as well as Poepy (poe-pee), Poepavitch (poe pah vitch), Poepy the Terrible. You get the idea.
Then there was the trip to Baltimore where I traversed a million miles of that city on foot just to visit Westminster Cemetery to view Poe’s grave sites.
It was not something on my life list of things to see. I did not travel to Baltimore for this purpose. We were there on other business, but since we were there, it just seemed like the type of thing that you don’t miss out on seeing.
Nor was the place that Poe was last seen alive. Might as well visit that as well, right? Which all of this leads me into my city. Our uni received a grant with The Big Read, and they chose Edgar Allan Poe.
My city is doing twelve different Poe events between 06. October and 03. December. Different departments of the university and the public library will host the events not just on campus or at the library but a few other places in town. The Sister and I were pretty excited. It seems cool.
Though our town is like a black void for events. One might only hear about it after it’s happened, or else not at all. We follow our local library on Facebook and receive their monthly newsletter, however, we did not know about this until the day of. That was only because we happened to be at the library to check books out and there was a huge poster about the opening event. The next event we are interested in isn’t until 28. October; Exquisite Dreams: Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated, but until then, here’s the opening reception that we attended.
The opening reception was basically, “here’s some free swag and we’ll give you hints about what’s going to happen in the next few months.” So, I got a poster for the October events, a magnet featuring the opening line from The Raven, a brand new copy of Great Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, and a Big Read bookmark.
When it was all said and done, The Sister was super excited to have her photo taken next to the life-size cardboard photo of Poe.
She had a vision; a grand plan man. She wanted to be serious and do it in black and white. I like how she’s so close that it looks like they’re holding hands and are possibly a couple. Haha, anyways… then she suggested I pose next to it.
And you get me, completely uncomfortable with the whole affair. It wasn’t that I was afraid of what people would think of me, it was just a bit unsettling to me. On the eve of his 166th death anniversary I’m standing next to a life-size photo of a real man. Someone who used to be alive. Who lived in a world so far removed from ours; a man who’s been dead for 166 years! Yeah, I’m trying to say it was really weird.
At least there’s a bit of consolation here. I’m not the only one who couldn’t be bothered to learn his name… and this woman was famous.