BC Professor Celebrating Poe’s 202nd Birthday at BPL

Perhaps no American author has influenced literature as much as Edgar Allen Poe. He developed the short story, is renowned as a poet, was America’s first great critic, was one of the earliest science-fiction writers, and is considered the founding father of the detective story. What poetry recitation goes without a version of “The Raven” being performed? Who hasn’t been gripped with fear while reading “The Tell-Tale Heart”?

Poe was born in Boston and often returned to the city during his life. BC Professor Paul Lewis of the English department is a great advocate of Poe’s. Last year, he organized a ground-breaking exhibit called “The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston” at Boston’s Public Library. (BC Arts Insider featured the exhibit in this post.) The exhibit has recently been moved online to allow access for those who were unable to attend last year.

Poe has clearly had an effect on Boston, and Professor Lewis continues to celebrate the author. On January 19th, the Boston College American Studies Program and the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston are sponsoring a free public celebration at the Boston Public Library to commemorate the 202nd birthday of America’s master of the macabre. It will feature Professor Lewis explaining Poe’s relationship with Boston and local writers. Poe himself (portrayed by Rob Velella) will add his thoughts and present some of his works. Then, Dan Currie of the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston will discuss the organization’s plans for a permanent honor to Poe. Q&A and an ‘open mic’ opportunity for attendees to present their own short Poe readings will also be offered. Some Poe-Boston t-shirts will be given away during the program.

This event promises to be great fun, so bring your favorite Poe reading, dust off your stuffed raven, and head to the Boston Public Library for this free public event.

When and Where: Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Johnson Building, Boston Room (Boylston Street entrance) on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7 p.m.

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