I love statues of authors that incorporate references to their works. One great example of this is the bronze statue of Edgar Allan Poe in Boston, Massachusetts, the city of his birth, although he had a long-standing feud with Bostonians. It’s situated on Boylston Street close to Boston Common, and it depicts Poe rushing down the street toward where his birthplace once stood. Poe, a man always on the move, is carrying a suitcase and out of it is bursting a huge raven, in reference to his most famous poem The Raven. Behind his flowing coat is a pile of his books, and on top of them a heart, a reference to his short story The Tell-Tale Heart. There are six plaques relating to his writings on the pavements around him. The figure of Poe is life-sized, showing he was quite a small man. He has his back turned to the frog-pond of Boston Common – he was scathing about the Boston literati and transcendentalists and called them ‘Frogpondians’.
The statue is the work of New York artist Stefanie Rocknak and was unveiled in 2014. It was the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation that chose the design from 265 proposals and raised funds for the statue.
I think it’s a fabulous statue – it shows us Poe’s relationship to his native city, it gives a strong idea of his rather haunted and unhappy personality (his face looks anxious), and it reminds us of some of his best-known works.
Boston is a city I’d love to spend more time in and I know when I do go back, I’ll be popping along to say Hi to Mr Poe.