Rawlings-Blake declares city-wide Edgar Allan Poe Appreciation Day
Jan 14, 2016 | 1:23 PM
The tradition of the "Poe Toaster," who for decades would leave a rose at Edgar Allan Poe's grave, will be revived this month. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun Video)
Not only is Edgar Allan Poe getting a new "Poe Toaster" for his birthday — he's getting his own holiday, too.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has declared Jan. 19, the poet's birthday, a city-wide "Edgar Allan Poe Appreciation Day," calling on citizens to honor the literary giant who lived and wrote in Baltimore in the 1830s until his death in 1849.
The proclamation making Poe's appreciation day official will be read Saturday at 3 p.m. at the birthday celebration planned by the Maryland Historical Society at Westminster Hall & Burying Ground, where the poet is buried.
Describing the poet as "a visionary, the creator of the science fiction and horror genre," the proclamation invites citizens, along with the many people who travel far and wide to visit the poet's home and gravesite, to "pause and take note of Poe and his contributions to world literature" on behalf of Rawlings-Blake.
The newest "Poe Toaster" appearance will be the headlining event, reintroducing a tradition started by an elusive individual who once brought three roses and a bottle of cognac to Poe's gravesite every year on the poet's birthday.
The historical society and Westminster Hall teamed up with local organizations and theater groups to revive the tradition, calling on artists to compete in an "American Idol"-esque contest to become the poetry legend’s newest “Poe Toaster” in October. Audience members cast their votes for the best “Poe Toaster” through a secret ballot, and Saturday will mark the big "toast."