Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy birthday, Edgar Allen Poe!

For more than 60 years now, a person known as the "Poe toaster" has turned up in a cemetery in Baltimore during the early morning hours of January 19th (Poe's birthday) to leave half a bottle of cognac and three red roses at Poe's grave. The story goes that the Poe toaster drinks to Poe's memory, then leaves the remainder of the bottle and the flowers. A month or so ago, I wrote a poem about it using the Fibonacci form:

Edgar Allen Poe's Birthday Toast
by Kelly R. Fineman

Poe's
grave:
Strange place
to party,
yet January
brings roses and cognac each year.


Only this year, for the first time in modern memory, the toaster did not arrive in the pre-dawn hours. I continue to hope that he'll turn up today - or that, barring that, he will arrive next year. Meanwhile, Mr. Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, will return for the next few years to keep vigil, as he's done every year since 1977. Has the tradition died out? Did it end with the bicentennial of Poe's birth (last year)? Will the Poe toaster turn up after all? Or will he come, like the dear, departed Lenore, nevermore?

I'll be back later today with Chapter Fifteen of Persuasion. If you're truly looking for something to read between now and then, may I suggest The Raven? Edited to add: Or if you'd prefer, has posted Annabel Lee.

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