When Armageddon came out, I had a ten minute conversation with a friend about the movie before I realized she was talking about Deep Impact—the other apocalyptic asteroid movie released that year. This probably also happened with the release of Dante’s Peak and Volcano, and I still can’t keep Antz and A Bug’s Life straight. Good things must come in twos, right? If the aforementioned flicks are any indicator, then the unveiling of two hand-crafted Edgar Allan Poe statues in Boston this month must be the confirmation. Not only are they being released in the same 25-day period, but they are located within .6 miles of one another.
“After over a century of this city ignoring Poe, we are finally blessed with an embarrassment of riches. Boston will now be gifted with an amazing statue and a beautiful bronze bust for everyone to visit and enjoy,” says Izzy Lee, a local filmmaker who has helped organize one of the two projects.
While the similarities between the two projects are significant — both had different big-name genre authors backing the project, and both projects have over 10,000 fans following their respective ever-updated Facebook pages — the works are very different. Or, at least, as different as two renderings of the macabre author 205 years after his Boston birth can be.
First up is the unveiling of Stefanie Rocknak’s life-size statue in Poe Square, at the intersection of Charles and Boylston, on October 5. Dubbed “Poe Returning to Boston,” the bronze sculpture presents Poe as a haunted, frazzled man, with deep bags under his eyes and a ruffled mustache, and his briefcase cracked open behind him with pages of work flapping in a glum breeze. Poe will not be propped up on a pedestal or base, Rocknak explains, by design. She hopes on a busy day, Poe, standing at 5’8”, may even get lost in the shuffle of pedestrians. But what differentiates him from the other commuters — besides the obvious fact that he is a statue — is the larger than life raven that will perch to his right.
Rocknak’s design, one that illuminates the tumultuous relationship Poe had with Boston, was selected from the 265 applicants, hailing from 42 states and 13 countries, after an open call was placed by Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston. After undergoing a seven-step process overseen by the Boston Art Commission, and a fundraising effort that raised a whopping $225,000 and included notable backers such as Stephen and Tabitha King, Poe is a few days away from “rebirth,” just days before the 165th anniversary of the writer’s death. How wonderfully morbid.
The second statue arrives later this month on October 30, just in time to further spook-infuse Halloween. Bryan Moore’s bronze bust — which was made possible by a successful kickstarter that raised upwards of $30, 000 with backers including Guillermo del Toro and George R.R. Martin — will make its home at the Boston Public Library. Moore, whose H.P. Lovecraft bust makes its home in the horror author’s hometown of Providence, has depicted the author in a more regal, more legend-like way than Rocknak’s animated imagining—making it an apt addition to the majestic library. To compliment the bust’s unveiling, Moore and Izzy Lee are bringing horror actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, a dozen or so others) to the city to reprise his role in “Nevermore: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” on Halloween.
Your challenge now that your have The Facts in the Case of The Two Poes: keep them straight in conversation.