We started the countdown clock on www.poe200th.com months ago and every time I think we finally have a completed roster of events for 2009, we come up with some new idea or find a new partner to help us celebrate Poe’s life and works. Discussions of Poe always seem to lead to some new horizon yet unexplored by us here at the Poe Museum. Next week I am meeting with Larry Gard over at the Carpenter Science Theater (Science Museum of Virginia) to talk about interpreting Poe’s “Eureka” through a theatrical production. Though Poe meant for “Eureka” to be read only as a prose poem, his speculations about the hidden meanings of the universe, its structure, and how it works are fascinating to consider for a man of his time–or even for a man of our time. It is only appropriate for the Science Museum to tackle the interpretation of this particular work, the last that Poe published in his lifetime.
Poe shares his bicentennial with Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln and it is always interesting for me, especially since I am trained as an anthropologist, to consider that these three minds were all a product of the same era, granting them similar world views and cultural understandings of an age. When Larry Gard and I were brainstorming ideas the other day he thought that a conversation between Poe and Darwin would be an interesting one. I do too, but I’m glad Larry will be the one to write this theatrical excursion because it will be such an intense research process.
I still have more work to do–many more entries to load into the events calendar on this website. Despite my procrastination you can already see an interesting mix of performances and exhibits that will explore Poe during his bicentennial year. For now I think I am most eager to see the commemorative stamp that will be issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Its design is still a secret but I have heard from people in the know that it is an extraordinarily beautiful image. It should be unveiled in just a short time, as soon as the USPS announces their 2009 commemorative series. I am also curious to see (or rather hear) the Richmond Symphony’s performances dedicated to Edgar, and the amazing exhibit planned by the Library of Virginia.
I hope many people will join us to celebrate Edgar A. Poe’s influences and success in 2009.