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Poe fans to celebrate author's Boston roots with birthday party

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  January 17, 2012 03:38 PM

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Boston’s most macabre native son may have dismissed the area’s literary world and the city itself as a "Frogpondium," but fans of Edgar Allan Poe’s work are continuing to celebrate the writer’s ties to the city on his birthday.

Poe was born in Boston 203 years ago Thursday, and on that day the Poe Foundation of Boston is hosting a free celebration at 7 p.m. at the Boston Public Library.

Guests will learn about Poe’s ties to Boston from foundation chairman and Boston College English professor Paul Lewis, and see the final three proposed designs for the Edgar Allan Poe Square public art project.

Poe spent much of his life in Baltimore and Philadelphia, but was born on what is now Charles Street South, and was stationed on Castle Island when he joined the Army. In 2009, Lewis and the foundation successfully lobbied to rename the corner of Charles and Bolyston streets Poe Square to honor Poe while highlighting his Boston ties.

Now the square needs art and the birthday commemoration will allow fans of his work to see three designs honoring Poe, one of which the foundation and Boston Art Commission will install in the square.

The final designs include a life-sized bronze figure of Poe with an oversized raven, a heart, and pages of his stories and poems spilling out of his trunk; another sculpture would feature Poe and a shrouded woman representing the trauma of his early childhood; and the third would be a triangular glass pavilion where Poe-related items will be on exhibit and for sale.

Poe’s brithday party will also feature a Poe trivia contest and there will be, according to the foundation, “a rare appearance by the author himself.”

Email Kaiser at johanna.yourtown@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @JohannaKaiser.

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