Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe

Skip the pitch…buy the book.

“For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief.”

The Black Cat
Edgar Allan Poe

If there’s anybody who needs no introduction, it’s Edgar Allan Poe…but for some reason I went ahead and wrote a whole book about him. Well, for one reason. He’s long been a looming presence in my life, and I needed to make him stand more front and center to figure him out a bit.

Edgar Allan Poe is a weird, weird phenomenon. He’s a touchstone of global culture, a founding father of many of our literary genres, an influence on everything, a merchandising marvel. I mean, he was merely a broke poet who wrote tales of murder and madness and then died under mysterious circumstances…right?

That was 165 years ago, and we still can’t get over Poe. We’re obsessed with him. He’s everywhere—art and TV and movies and theater and music, the Internet, Mercury, the NFL, the NHL. Every year multiple books come out about him—biographies, fictional accounts inspired by his life, takeoffs of his stories, literary critiques.

And now I get to add my own to the stack. But I warn you…it’s a weird one. Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe is a personal travelogue of my year visiting the preserved sites, memorials, artifacts, and inspirations connected to Poe up and down the East Coast and across the ocean in England—all the places he lived and all the places that have been hallowed as a result.

For this book, I visited some 90 sites related to Poe and interviewed dozens of people who have maintained his physical legacy in some way. Come to Poe-Land with me as I:

  • Climb to the top of a 170-year-old church bell tower to look for Poe’s inspiration for his poem The Bells
  • Enter the dark, uncomfortable depths of a strip club looking for site of the newspaper building that launched his career in literary magazines
  • Track down and hold in my stupid, stupid hand such relics as his hair, pieces of his original coffin, his engagement ring, and other astounding artifacts
  • Descend into the cellar that gave him the idea for interring people (and cats) in walls
  • Dive into the largest collection of Poe pop culture memorabilia in the world
  • Tip-toe into the most valuable collection of original Poe materials in the world
  • Cross the Atlantic to trace down the five years he spent as a child in London
  • Chronicle the creation of the brand new Poe statue in Boston, one of the boldest designs ever conceived for an author
  • Explore the catacombs in the graveyard where he is buried
  • Step foot into his college dorm room, his honeymoon suite, and the last house in which he ever lived
  • Hang out with enough Poe performers that to this day I’m tempted to cultivate a mustache myself

These are just some of the highlights in a trek that takes me through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, South Carolina, and England in one, long glorious year of Poe.

So wheel a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door and follow me through the crazy carnival that is Poe-Land. We’ll have a great and harrowing time. Like the party in Hop-Frog. Bring your ape suit.

Buy the book.

NOTE: Currently Poe-Land is available at online retailers and whatever brick-and-mortars don't care about release dates. By early October it'll be everywhere and the ebook version will be released. 

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