Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unhappy Hour

Here at abcreads, occasionally we hit a dry patch thinking of subjects to blog about. Then we start looking at History.com's "What Happened Today in History" or the New York Times' "On This Day" or other such sources for inspiration-which led us to Edgar Allan Poe. We thought October 7th was his birthday. Unfortunately, it's the anniversary of the day he died, which is not something we tend to blog about.

However, it's almost Halloween, it's Poe, & the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, has some interesting celebrations this month! On October 7th, they're celebrating a Poe Memorial Service, which they claim puts "the 'fun' back in 'funeral'." The memorial service will be an "evening with Poe's last fiancée, Elmira Royster Shelton", with live music, a coffin race, & a chance to learn about Victorian mourning customs. On the 28th, the Poe Museum will have their "Unhappy Hour". This month's theme is The Fall of the House of Usher, & there will be live music, games, activities, & something called "The Madeline Usher Experience". Costumes are encouraged.

This would be a good time to mention Poe's grave & the "Poe Toaster". The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore has the full scoop on the Toaster, who "since 1949, on the night of the anniversary of Poe’s birth, ...has entered this cemetery and left as tribute a partial bottle of cognac and three roses on Poe’s grave." Also, his month the Poe Society sponsors an annual commemorative lecture on the life and/or works of Edgar Allan Poe, presented by a noted Poe scholar. This lecture has been held since 1923 on the first Sunday in October, more-or-less coinciding with the anniversary of Poe’s death. "Prior to this event, it is traditional for members of the Poe Society to gather at Poe’s grave, placing flowers on the monument in a brief and informal ceremony to honor Poe’s memory." On Halloween night, there will be a tour of the cemetery & catacombs!

I had no idea there was so much fun stuff to do to celebrate Edgar AllanPoe. Even just online-visit Poets.org for a selection of Poe's poetry online; you can also read his story "Murders in the Rue Morgue". How about a list of Poe-related songs from the fansite House of Usher? Take a tour of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site! Or, make a selection from our library catalog!

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