Sunday, October 11, 2009

RIP Edgar Allen Poe, again. And again. And again.

Apparently nobody showed up at Poe's original funeral, so today, on the 160th anniversary of his death, Baltimore is holding two more.

Coincidentally, I sat in on a lecture by Michael Chabon up at Columbia University a few days ago, titled "I was Edgar Allen Poe" -- as a child, Chabon obsessed over the idea of being the reincarnation of Poe. I learned quite a few things during the talk -- that Chabon is a pretty funny guy, that singer Jeff Buckley did a recording of the ballad Ulalume, and that Poe is considered the first (well-known) person ever to try to make a living solely by writing. And so it follows, from a BBC News article today, that Poe "died an impoverished lunatic at the age of 40. His tombstone was destroyed. An enemy wrote his obituary and damaged his reputation for decades."

P.S. Asked if he had any mantras for when he hit obstacles while trying to write, Chabon answered with several, including: "This is it, this is the one that's going to kill me," "I'm not up to this" and "Help."

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