If Within the Distant Aidenn

December 4, 2014 — Poe-Land contains just under 150 photos. I and my wife probably took about 2,000 over the course of the year-plus it took me to visit everything. Here are some random, never-before-published photos (I’m pretty sure, at least…I don’t want to sort through all my socials to double-check) that make me all crinkly inside with nostalgia.

I'm not known for my selfies, but if I'm alone in Poe's UVA dorm room,
it's going to happen.

Sliver of Poe's original coffin from the archives of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.

I'm really hoping she remembers some of the Poe jaunts
she joined me on when she grows up, even if I did
dedicate the book to her baby sister.

The landing of Poe's honeymoon suite in Petersburg, Virginia.
The consummation might've happened right in that room

One of the first things I did after starting the book was attend Poe's 204th birthday celebration at the
Boston Public Library, where sculptor Stefanie Rocknak (center) showed off the scale model
of what would become the Boston Poe statue...almost two years later.
I don't know who those two guys are, but they should look a lot more impressed. 

One of my personal thrills was getting my hands on Poe performer Norman George's original record book for the
1989 Boston Poe plaque. He was one of the first people I talked to, and turned me toward many in the cult of Poe
who fill the book's pages. I have a soft spot for his plaque and it's lonely 25-year Poe vigil.
Today it shares the square with Rocknak's Poe statue.

Just outside of Brighton in the UK, where noted Poe collector Peter Fawn is digging around for Poe treasures,
while I hold a Mystery Writer's of America Edgar Award.

Fortunato and Montressor doing their thing at the 2013 Cask of Amontillado
Wine Tasting Among the Bones at Baltimore's Westminster Hall, outside of which
Poe is buried. Actually, I'm pretty sure this photo did get posted on the socials.
How could it not have been?

In the catacombs beneath Westminster Hall. Behind me is a portal to the hereafter with a pair of ghosts in it.

Best part of my Poe-Land experience was hanging out with awesomely weird cats
 like Edward Pettit, the "Philly Poe Guy." Here he stands at the grave of author and
friend of Poe, George Lippard. I hesitated posting this  because
that branch in the upper left corner looks like a bad omen.

Thomas L. Howard III explaining to me the ins and outs of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society
 in the room where it meets. That chair you can barely make out in front of the window in the center of the photo
is the "Poe Chair," where the secretary sits. Poe briefly filled that role for the society during his time at the college.

Some days I didn't prepare too well. Me peeking into the locked
Monumental Church  in Richmond, Virginia,
looking for the pew Poe would have sat in as a child.

Hanging with Poe's mom in Richmond, Virginia.

Inside Richmond's Masonic lodge. This floor is probably the only
remaining stage that Poe's mother acted on.

Another inside the lodge because, well, it's the only one I've ever entered.

Inside the Philadelphia Free Library's Rare Books Department,
where so many of my Poe dreams cam true.

Like this one, selfie-ing with the only extant copy  of Poe's "The Raven"
written in his own hand. My eyes are jacked up from my LASIK.
The desk and chair of Charles Dickens, also at the Free Library.

Still at the Philadelphia Free Library, my wife, her camera, and I reflected in the glass protecting Grip the Raven,
muse to both Dickens and Poe.