19 January 2009

Ravenous Bicentenary

Today is the bicentenary of the birth, here in Boston, of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe and Boston did not get on, perhaps (faults on both sides, no doubt).

He was almost my earliest literary awareness, and certainly my first literary passion. The music of “The Raven” (the music inherent in the poem, I mean, not any musical setting thereof) so enchanted me that I committed it to memory . . . and probably my first artistic exploit was impressing a teacher or two in grade school with this feat. As I am shy by nature, this was in effect my leverage into performance, I suppose.

Much later, when I was undertaking my Master’s in Charlottesville, I saw the room in The Lawn which is preserved as a memorial to UVa’s illustrious expellee (gambling was his weakness, here).

[ click on the photo, and a characteristic bird will come into view ]

Yesterday I ran into this amusing remark from a man whose precise centenary will defy celebration:

I don't know how old I am because the goat ate the Bible that had my birth certificate in it. The goat lived to be twenty-seven.
— Satchel Paige (1906?-1982)

1 comment:

Cato said...

And so did you play Rachmaninov's cantata-symphony version of Poe's poem "The Bells"?