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Edgar Allan Poe Foundation moves closer to installing statue

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  August 16, 2013 03:44 PM

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The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston has received a $75,000 grant from the City of Boston's Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund to help install a statue dedicated to the acclaimed writer and native Bostonian.

"This is a major step toward the home stretch in making the dream of the statue a reality," John LaFleur, president of the Poe Foundation, said in a statement. "We're looking for contributors who have been considering support to help conclude the campaign quickly so we can schedule an installation date."

The Poe Foundation has been working to install a life-size bronze sculpture of Poe returning to Boston with a raven emerging from his trunk, and papers and a heart trailing behind him in Edgar Allan Square at the corner of Boylston and Charles streets.

The author was born not far from the brick plaza.

With this donation the foundation has raised three-fourths of the $200,000 needed to fabricate and install the statue.

"The Browne Fund's support has been vital to the project from the outset," Stefanie Rocknak, the sculptor whose design for "Poe Returning to Boston" was chosen from 265 proposals, said in a statement.

The foundation has also received contributions for the statue from the Highland Street Foundation, the Hildreth Stewart Foundation, the Poe Studies Association, Stephen and Tabitha King, Susan Jaffe Tane, Michael Moskow, Jack Joyce, and Poe fans from around the world.

"Poe deserves this tribute, not despite, but because he quarreled with Boston-based writers of his time, whom he called 'Frogpondians' and 'so-called transcendentalists,'" Boston College English professor and Poe Foundation chairman Paul Lewis said in a statement. "By resisting then-fashionable didacticism and promoting literature for its own sake, Poe became a foundational figure in the development of popular culture."

In June, the Public Improvement Commission approved the installation plan for the statue and in July the Boston Arts Commission gave final approval to the statue's design.

"Not many people may know of Poe's personal ties to Boston, but through Poe Returning to Boston our city's role as the birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe will finally be recognized and celebrated," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement.

While the Poe Foundation continues to fundraise for the project, Rocknak is directing the fabrication process.

Skylight Studios of Woburn will assist in the creation of a 6-foot carvable foam version of the piece that Rocknak will adjust, cover in clay, and sculpt into its final form, according to the foundation. The clay-covered figure will then be cut into separate parts for use in the creation of wax molds that will be cast in bronze by New England Sculpture Services of Chelsea.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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