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Wednesday
Jan202010

Poe Family endorses more Great Poe Debates

The other big Poe news happened on Saturday when Harry Lee Poe, a descendant of Edgar's cousins (Edgar had no children, so he has no direct descendants), made a speech in Richmond at their 24 hour Poe birthday bash (I love the 24 hr idea; Wish I could have gone).  Now, yes, I was a little annoyed at first, mainly because they had advertised Hal Poe's speech as being part of the "Great Poe Debate" and Richmond has all along refused to get involved in any kind of debate.  But I was not at all bothered that Hal Poe was making an announcement as a representative of Poe's family.  This Poe War has been going on for over two years now.  It's about time an actual Poe weighed in. 

You can read Hal Poe's remarks here: The Disposition of Poe's Body

I am especially thrilled that the Poe Family understands the spirit of this debate, that it is good to have fun while discussing literary history.  However after Hal Poe's speech, the news media slant on the story was that "Poe's bones" will remain in Baltimore, as if Hal Poe had declared Baltimore the winner of the Poe War. The headline in the Baltimore Sun reads:

Poe descendants reject moving his body from Baltimore: No position taken on claim of Boston, Philadelphia to legacy of poet-author buried in Baltimore

That's so misleading.  It sounds as if Hal Poe has declared Baltimore the winner.  KYW News in Philadelphia reported that "The Charmed Bones of Poe Stay Put," again making it sound as if Baltimore has won.  What Hal Poe did was place a stamp of approval on the Poe War we've been waging for the past two years (although I'm not sure he likes to think of it as a battle).  Far from declaring a "winner" in the Great Poe Debate, Hal Poe's remarks endorse FURTHER DEBATE, even naming more cities that could get involved in this very productive discussion of the literary history.  How cool is that!

So all you Poe War detractors out there who've criticized our approach to this Poe War: even the Poe Family thinks the Great Poe Debate is a worthy endeavour. 

So get on board, Richmond and New York. . . and Charlotte and Charlottesville and London and any other city that wants to get involved.  Bring it.  I'm taking on all comers and the Poe Family is watching from the stands.

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