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Vision for an Edgar Allan Poe memorial in Boston comes closer to reality

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  February 1, 2013 05:55 PM

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The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston

Poe scholars and admirers, from left: Dan Currie, Philip Phillips, Stefanie Rocknak, Rob Velella, Paul Lewis, and Katherine Kim, with a model and enlarged image of Rocknak’s proposed statue “Poe Returning to Boston.”

A proposed statue honoring Boston-born writer Edgar Allan Poe has moved closer to completion thanks to two substantial new donations, the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston announced.

At a Jan. 19 celebration of Poe’s 204th birthday at the Boston Public Library, Poe Foundation president Dan Currie announced two major donations to help support the proposed $175,000 life-size bronze statue, according to a statement he released Thursday.

The Highland Street Foundation donated $25,000, Currie said, and $10,000 came from Susan Jaffe Tane, a collector of Poe manuscripts and artifacts. The foundation has also raised more than $5,000 in small donations, primarily through its website, Currie said.

At the celebration, New York-based sculptor Stefanie Rocknak was on hand with a woodcut model for her proposed sculpture, “Poe Returning to Boston.” Rocknak was selected for the commission early last year from among 265 artists in 42 states and 13 countries.

Organizers plan a May 2014 unveiling for the statue in Poe Square, opposite Boston Common at the corner of Boylston and Charles streets, near the home, demolished in 1959, where Poe was born in 1809.

The celebration also introduced the foundation’s first annual lecture on Poe and Boston by Poe scholar Philip Edward Phillips, professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University.

Phillips described Poe’s controversial appearance at a Boston Lyceum poetry reading in 1845, which he said “brought to the surface some of Poe’s most conflicting, and deeply personal, feelings about the city of his birth.

“Rather than confirming Poe’s animosity towards the city of Boston, especially its authors and institutions, the event more importantly reveals Poe’s desire to return … to reclaim a birthright that had its origins on the Boston stage [where his maternal grandmother and parents performed],” Phillips said.

“What he most desired on that occasion was to be accepted and lauded in the city of his birth by an audience of Bostonians.”

For more information about the Poe Foundation, visit http://www.poeboston.org.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
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