October is the perfect time to explore Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre life, his enigmatic death and everything in between with only-in Baltimore exhibitions, events and tours.
Tour Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe Sites
Baltimore is the home of Edgar Allan Poe’s final resting place at Westminster Burying Ground, which is open to the public daily during daylight hours (8 a.m. to dusk), as well as his family home, which is now the Poe House and Museum. The refurbished National Historic Landmark, where Poe lived from 1833 to 1835, is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by special arrangement for groups of 10 or more.
Poe died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, and this year on October 8, Poe will be honored during a special event at Westminster Hall & Burying Ground around Poe's original grave in the grassy graveyard behind the church. It will feature dramatic readings of Poe's works and his obituaries as well as other tributes inspired by Poe. The new Poe Toaster will also be on hand, a tradition that dates back to the 1940’s when a dark figure would lay three roses and a bottle of cognac at Poe’s grave on his birthday.
Watch Some Scary Good Poe-formances
Throughout October, you can also catch performances by David Keltz in character as Poe. Keltz gave his first performance as Edgar Allan Poe on Halloween night in 1991 at Poe's grave. He commands five hours of Poe's poems, short stories, essays, literary criticism, letters and reported conversations. You can find him at Annabel Lee Tavern, an establishment that celebrates Poe, on October 9, or take the 5th annual bus tour with him on October 8 that starts at Annabel Lee Tavern. Keltz will also be performing a one-man play as Poe October 14-16 at The Theosophical Society in Maryland.
At the Creative Alliance, see Poe’s work re-imagined through burlesque, sideshow and more with the performance of “The Haunting of Poe: A Burlesque Masquerade.” Be among the observers in Prince Prospero's laboratory as he and his guests resurrect the melancholic poet for a science-fiction spin on Poe’s literary work on October 28.
Special Only-in-Baltimore Poe Events & Artifacts
At the George Peabody Library, you can learn more about Poe’s original work in an exhibit called “The Enigmatic Edgar A. Poe in Baltimore & Beyond: Selections from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection.” Starting October 4 and ending February 5, 2017, this exhibition of rare materials—from what is arguably the finest private Poe collection in the world—gives viewers the chance to see Poe’s work, up close: “The Raven” in his own handwriting, first editions of Poe’s writings in books, newspapers and magazines from the 1800s, and examples of the translations, illustrations, comic books and portraits that have helped extend Poe’s global popularity.
The Enoch Pratt Free Library also has a large collection of letters, photos and memorabilia from Poe’s life and family, including a lock of his hair. The collection was opened to the public on January 19, 1934 – the 125th anniversary of Poe’s birth – and can be seen by appointment all year round.
Since 1923, the Poe Society has sponsored an annual commemorative lecture on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, presented by a noted Poe scholar. This lecture is always held on the first Sunday in October, more-or-less coinciding with the anniversary of Poe’s death. Prior to this event, it is traditional for members of the Poe Society to gather at Poe’s grave, placing flowers on the monument in a brief and informal ceremony to honor Poe’s memory. This year’s lecture at the University of Maryland BioPark, is “‘Deep into that darkness peering’: Poe’s Cross-Genre Response to Mystery” by Paul Lewis, professor of English at Boston College and president of the Poe Studies Association. A discussion and reception with sweets and drinks will follow.
At the Poe House, on the second Sunday of each month, poets are welcome to read several of their favorite Poe poems and a few of their own works at the Poe and Poets Series. Be sure to register in advance to reserve your spot.
Celebrate Halloween with Edgar Allan Poe at the Black Cat Ball at Mobtown Ballroom on October 29. Don your costume and get ready to raise the roof at this rocking dance party that benefits Poe Baltimore and the Edgar Allan Poe House.