Boston has sired its fair share of famous and illustrious people: former president John F. Kennedy, American patriot (and modern-day beer salesman) Samuel Adams, Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy and, of course, many of the members of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. However, did you know that the original modern goth himself, Edgar Allan Poe, was also a Bostonian? Well, he was, and now the city has got together to celebrate that fact.
Boston will be unveiling a life-size statue of the author and poet in Edgar Allan Poe Square (the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South) on October 5th, 2014 at 2pm. 265 artists from 42 states and 13 countries submitted designs for the bronze statue and now we've got our first look at the winning proposal, Poe Returning to Boston, by Stefanie Rocknak.
Check out pictures of the clay model for the final design, and Rocknak's written proposal of the statue, below:
I propose to cast a life-size figure of Poe in bronze. Just off the train, the figure would be walking south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas—and worldwide success—is finally coming home. His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, he openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north. Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe's brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven's wing, and, like a bird, Poe is slightly pigeon-toed. They are one, heading up-wind towards their final resting place.
As I'm sure you'll agree, the statue definitely makes an impact. It packs in just the right amount of melancholy and macabre foreboding, while the additions of the titular Raven and Tell-Tale Heart will certainly appeal to fans of his literature.
Here's a fun fact: Two weeks ago I was on vacation in Boston. Sure, I did all the sights, I wandered around the harbor and, as a Brit, paid my respects to all those crates of tea which bravely perished in the War of Independence (I know all is fair in love and war, but hitting our tea supplies was a low blow). However, incidentally I actually walked through Edgar Allan Poe Square on my way to Fenway Park. With the exception of a small plaque, you wouldn't actually know the place was named in honor of Poe. So with this in mind, the statue will certainly make an impressive addition.
What do you think? A fitting legacy for a literary legend, or a gaudy attempt to appeal to photo-happy tourists? Let me know below.