Quoth the Raven

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

We seem to be having a Poe-ment. Between the premiere of The Following and the Ravens in the Superbowl, it looks like Edgar Allan is making a comeback. Poe could use a little love. He’s the patron saint of the down and out after all and Baltimore certainly qualifies on this count. They’ve had to fight for their Poe legacy. A couple of years ago an English professor threatened to mount a grave robbing expedition to retrieve Poe’s body. No, it wasn’t Joe Carroll, the fictional prof turned serial killer who gives Kevin Bacon’s telltale heart a run for the money, but a real life scholar from Philadelphia. After all, Poe spent a lot more time in Philly then Baltimore. Although it’s not known whether he wrote “The Raven” in Philadelphia or New York, he composed most of his major works in the city of brotherly love. (But hey, Philadelphia named its team after a different bird.) Baltimore has the distinction of being the city where Poe dropped dead after being found wandering the streets in a delirium. For their part, the citizens of Bodymore—a nickname that combines the best of Poe and the worst of The Wireplan on turning out in force should anyone try to bodysnatch their mascot. (Actually, the team has three: Edgar, Allan, and Poe.) It will be a historic contest this evening, pitting one bay city against another, east coast against west, poets versus gold diggers. Poe wrote a poem titled “Eldorado”

But he grew old–
This knight so bold–
And o’er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

He finished it the spring of the gold rush year, but Poe never made it to Eldorado. In early October of ’49, he died and was buried in Baltimore.

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