Museum News

“The Pit and The Pendulum” – June Unhappy Hour

June’s Unhappy Hour (which took place on June 23rd) featured Poe’s short story “The Pit and the Pendulum”. First published in October 1842, the story is a hair raising tale of a prisoner’s experiences at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition and is notable for evoking terror through its heavy reliance on sensory details to emphasize the reality of the narrator’s harrowing situation.

The museum has put together a new exhibit based on Poe’s tale that opened for the Unhappy Hour.
Here is a small sampling courtesy of Keith Kaufelt:

Pit and the Pendulum exhibit at the Poe Museum

You’ll have to come experience the whole exhibit for yourself – it will be here through the end of August.

Unhappy Hour featured a Spanish Inquisition themed scavenger hunt as well as Spanish themed food in honor of the story. Jamie and Katie, two of our lovely staff members, even volunteered to make pendulum cookies for the occasion.
Marvel at their hard work!

Shiny Pendulum Cookies

Pendulum cookies – with “bloody” sprinkle edges courtesy of Jamie and Katie

Family enjoying our Spanish Inquisition trivia game at Unhappy Hour

Family enjoying the Spanish Inquisition scavenger hunt at Unhappy Hour

Lovely Spanish guitar music was provided by the Robinson Guitar Duo.

The Robinson Guitar Duo

The Robinson Guitar Duo

Enjoying Unhappy Hour

Guests enjoying June’s Unhappy Hour festivities

Lots more Unhappy Hour photos (plus larger versions of the ones posted in this entry) may be found here:

Unless you’re a victim of the Inqusition, a good time can always be had during Unhappy Hour at the Poe Museum.

Next Unhappy Hour will be on July 28th from 6pm-9pm and will feature a carnival and an amontillado tasting in honor of “The Cask of Amontillado.” Beggars of Life will provide the evening’s musical entertainment.

You might have so much fun you’ll never leave …

The Raven Receives Fan Mail

In what may possibly be a Poe Museum first, we received a letter addressed to “The Raven” in care of the museum.

The envelope - click for a larger version

Needless to say, the staff was intrigued and we passed the letter along to the Raven.

The Raven was so pleased by the letter, that he asked me to share it on the museum blog. (Ravens lack opposable thumbs, which makes blogging difficult for them.)

So here is the letter:

The letter - click for a larger version

The Raven composed a reply and had me put it in the mail this morning. We hope that Mr. Martell will enjoy the letter.

The Raven has also graciously consented to allowing his reply to be published on this blog, so here it is:

The Raven's Reply - click for larger version

A little bird told us this might be the start of a trend…

Artist Brings Poe Portrait to Museum

While taking a tour of Poe sites from South Carolina to New York, Alabama artist Jeremy Adams stopped by the Poe Museum to see the exhibits and to show us the portrait he painted of Edgar Allan Poe. When he left us, he planned to visit the Allan graves at Shockoe Hill Cemetery and Poe’s mother’s grave at St. John’s Church before heading to the Poe House and grave in Baltimore. In this photo taken in the Poe Shrine, the artist is holding the portrait of Poe he developed over the course of eight months.

Facebook Page for Weddings at the Poe Museum Goes Live!

I am pleased to announce the launch of a Facebook page exclusively dedicated to Weddings at the Poe Museum! I encourage everyone to check it out and spread the word. Expect more content in the future.

You can find the page by following the URL listed below:

Edgar Allan Poe Bust to be Unveiled at Stoke Newington

On June 4th, as part of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, the boutique cinema experience, The Flicker Club, will kick off a day of celebrations to honor former London N16 resident, American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The day will culminate in the unveiling of a permanent statue of the undisputed master of the horror story on the site of Manor House School on Stoke Newington Church Street, which he attended from 1818 to 1820 from the age of nine.

The day long event will start with a light-hearted panel discussion on Poe, his work and his legacy, which will include references to his work on The Simpsons to having an American football club named after his poem ‘The Raven’. The panel will include horror and fantasy writer Stephen Jones, author Christopher Fowler, crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw, science fiction author Pat Cadigan, short story writer Nicholas Royle and journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman

This will be followed a screening of Steven Berkoff’s “The Tell Tale Heart” introduced by Berkoff himself.

At approximately 6pm outside The Fox Reformed on Church Street, exactly on the site of the old school house, a specially commissioned bust of Edgar Allan Poe by artist Ralph Perrott will be unveiled by Steven Berkoff.

The celebrations will then continue into the evening with Tin Shed Theatre Company presenting Edgar Allan Poe’s Terrifying Tales.

To end the day there will be a screening of Roger Corman’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ as a tribute to both Edgar Poe and also to Vincent Price on the centenary of his birth.

Throughout there will be an Edgar Allan Poe exhibition at Stoke Newington Town Hall from the private collection of Peter Fawn which will include hand written letters to the original art work from Marvel’s Batman vs Edgar Allan Poe

All guests will get the regular Flicker treatment of a drinks reception, copies of the source material and limited edition copies of the poster artwork by Royal Academy Artist Emma Molony.

The Flicker Club is a boutique cinema club that redefines the film-going experience by creating a unique way of rediscovering cinematic treasures. They screen movies adapted from short stories or novels and thus celebrate the power of the written word and the silver screen
The club invites surprise special guests from the worlds of entertainment and literature to read the source material before showing its big-screen incarnation. This is also an opportunity of experiencing the process of adaption at first hand.
Every month, the flicker club collaborates with an artist for the event to reinterpret the film poster and create a bespoke flickbook for the event. Previous artists have included Tommy Penton, Kate Gibb, Jo Ratcliffe, Michael Gillette, Shiv, Dan Canyon, Rob Ryan, Adrian Johnson & Graham Humphries.
The Flicker Club was set up in conjunction with FilmMAD, the cinematic branch of the Make a Difference Trust; established to support people facing hardship as a result of HIV and AIDS in Africa. All profits go directly to them.
The Statue
The Statue of Edgar Allan Poe was made by the sculptor, Ralph Perrott. It is made in clay and cast in durable resin with stone facade. His company ‘Talisman’ have previously been commissioned to make busts of celebrated figures as diverse Lawrence of Arabia and Terry Gilliam, which was recently featured in The Evening Standard. This is the second time that Talisman has created a bust of Edgar Poe. The previous commission was for the 1999 Poe festival in Prague. Talisman have presented sculpting workshops at The Imperial War Museum. The company specializes in military figurines.

Stoke Newington Literary Festival
Stoke Newington Literary Festival was set up in 2010 to celebrate the area’s history as a gathering place for dissenters, radical thinkers and writers including Daniel Defoe, Mary Wollstonecraft, Edgar Allen Poe and Anna Laetitia Barbauld. It’s a non-profit venture which aims to raise money for literacy initiatives within Hackney.

In its inaugural year, Tony Benn, Prof AC Grayling, Shappi Khorsandi, China Mieville, Iain Sinclair, Jeremy Hardy, Toby Litt and Edwyn Collins joined us for what was to become a sell-out weekend.

This year, as well as the Edgar Allen Poe strand, we’re joined by Alexei Sayle, Jon Ronson, Elif Shafak, Stella Duffy, Linda Grant, Suzanne Moore, Dan Cruikshank, Shaun Keaveny, Paul Morley, Alex Wheatle, Oliver Jeffers and many more in a programme that covers the area’s role in the growth of reggae & ska, a celebration of Mary Wollstonecraft, African Diaspora writing and an event about bicycles.

Poe’s description of Stoke Newington:
“a dream like and spirit soothing place, that venerable old town. At this moment, I fancy, I feel the refreshing chilliness of its deeply-shadowed avenues, inhale the fragrance of its thousand shrubberies, and thrill anew with indefinable delight, at the deep hollow note of the church-bell, breaking, each hour, with sullen and sudden roar, upon the stillness of the dusky atmosphere in which the fretted gothic steeple lay imbedded and asleep…..

Poe’s description of St Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington which still stands:
…Of this church the principal of our school was the pastor…..This reverend man, with countenance so demurely benign, with robes so glossy and so clerically flowing, with wig so minutely powdered, so rigid and so vast, – could this be he who, of late, with sour visage, and in snuffy habiliments, administered, ferule in hand, the Draconian laws of the academy? Oh gigantic paradox, too utterly monstrous for solution!”