Edgar Allan Poe Statue
As a result of an urban renewal project, the original house and street where Edgar Allan Poe was born and raised no longer exist. However, in 2009 the small plaza close to Poe’s original home was renamed the “Edgar Allan Poe Square.” On October 5th, 2014, a statue was commissioned by the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston. The statue, named “Poe Returning to Boston,” depicts Poe briskly walking through the Edgar Allan Poe Square. The statue, a bronze figure with papers flying from a briefcase and accompanied by a giant raven, was designed by Stefanie Rocknak and represented the crowning achievement of The Poe Foundation of Boston, which formally dissolved the year after the statue was completed. The statue is designed to represent Poe’s inherent hatred of the city he was raised in. Rocknak made the choice to have Poe rushing away from Frog Pond, something Poe associated with Boston’s established literature and writers who he once described as “Frogpondians.”
Backstory and Context
April 27, 2009, the city of Boston dubbed the busy junction of Boylston Street and Charles Street "Edgar Allan Poe Square." It is the closest major junction to Poe's birthplace. In fact, the original home of his birth has been long since destroyed, leaving only an empty lot in its place. In the same square, and built long before the square was even named as such, a plaque dedicated to his birthplace is built into what is now a popular burrito chain. As well as the plaque, down the block at 15 Fayette Street, a small bronze relief of Poe, designed by an unknown artist, is affixed on a red-brick building, dubbed the “Poe Condominium" by a few local residents.
Looking for other similar Poe memorials around the Common is easy due to a large portion of Poe's life taking place around the park. Walking up towards the Old State House you can come across the area where Poe published his first book and, later, "The Tell-Tale Heart," one of Poe's best known stories and a classic addition to the Gothic fiction genre. The story was first printed in "The Pioneer", a Bostonian periodical produced by James Russell Lowell.
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 in Boston, a city that he would later come to loathe with passion, partly because of his tragic childhood. Poe’s father ran off from the family in 1810 and his mother died the year after, leaving him orphaned and abandoned. He was later taken in by John and Frances Allan, where he got the second surname, despite never being formally adopted by them. Poe attended the University of Virginia but eventually dropped out after running out of money. Following this, Poe decided to join the military where he began his writing career with a collection of poetry. Poe gave up on prospects of being a military officer cadet at West Point and instead declared himself a writer and poet.
Poe worked for various literary journals and periodicals in cities such as Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York City. This is where Poe became a more common name and developed his well-known style of literary criticism. In 1836 he married his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. In January, 1847, she died of tuberculous at the age of 24. Poe was extremely affected by his wife’s death. The effect of her death and illness was seen in his writing as dying young women started to appear as a motif. Literary pieces on this theme, includes ones written before his wife's death, include “Annabel Lee”, “Ligeia”, and his most popular poem, “The Raven.”
Annear, Steve. Edgar Allan Poe Statue Finally Goes Up in Boston. Boston Magazine. October 06, 2014. . https://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2014/10/06/edgar-allan-poe-comes-back-boston/.
Jasnoff, Brittany. Touring Poe's Boston. Boston Magazine. March 03, 2010. . https://www.bostonmagazine.com/2010/03/03/boston-magazine-march-2010-connoisseur-arts-culture-touring-poe-s-boston-brittany-jasnoff-dan-currie-paul-lewis-edgar-allan-poe/.
Poe's Biography. The Poe Museum. . . https://www.poemuseum.org/poes-biography.
Lee, M.G.. Edgar Allan Poe immortalized in the city he loathed. Boston Globe. October 05, 2014. . https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/10/05/evermore-edgar-allan-poe-immortalized-city-loathed/LpGC9U4FZ2w3HFIXomOwON/story.html.
Edgar Allan Poe. The Poetry Foundation. . . https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/edgar-allan-poe.