Big Reads: Setting the Scene with Mrs. Poe

Hello BRCT followers!

We’ve been warming up for our September kick-off by sharing the basics about Edgar Allan Poe. Bios, trivia and quizzes are all fun and informative, but they fail to paint the full picture of Poe’s mysterious world. To help set the scene and engage your imaginations, we recommend you pick up a copy of Mrs. Poe.

Mrs. Poe is a fascinating work of historical fiction. A fun and easy “Big Read,” it transports the reader into the world of the 1840’s New York literati with vivid detail and historical accuracy. The language of the book, as well as the painstaking research by author Lynn Cullen, fully immerses one in the era.

In Literacy Connects‘ own preparations for BRCT, several of the staff read Mrs. PoeThe feedback was unanimous — the historical social, political and literary context the book provides makes Poe more accessible. So, we encourage you to enjoy some fiction, engage your imagination, and step into the parlor with Poe at the height of Raven-mania.

Synopsis: “1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new immigrants and old money, optimism and opportunity, poverty and crime. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is all the rage—the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. As a mother trying to support two young children after her husband’s cruel betrayal, Frances jumps at the chance to meet the illustrious Mr. Poe at a small literary gathering, if only to help her fledgling career. Although not a great fan of Poe’s writing, she is nonetheless overwhelmed by his magnetic presence— and the surprising revelation that he admires her work. 

What follows is a flirtation, then a seduction, then an illicit affair . . . and with each clandestine encounter, Frances finds herself falling slowly and inexorably under the spell of her mysterious, complicated lover. But when Edgar’s frail wife Virginia insists on befriending Frances as well, the relationship becomes as dark and twisted as one of Poe’s tales. And like those gothic heroines whose fates are forever sealed, Frances begins to fear that deceiving Mrs. Poe may be as impossible as cheating death itself. . . .”

Big Read Teacher’s Guide

We’ll be posting curricula for all ages throughout the year, and decided to kick off Big Read Connects Tucson by sharing the Poe Teacher’s Guide provided by The Big Read.

This Big Read Teacher’s Guide contains ten lessons to lead you through an introduction to the poetry and short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Each lesson has four sections: a focus topic, discussion activities, writing exercises, and homework assignments.  All lessons dovetail with the state language arts standards required in the fiction genre.

The Big Read Reader’s Guide deepens your exploration with interviews, booklists, timelines, and historical information. This guide and syllabus will allow you to have fun with your students while introducing them to the work of a great American author.

The Big Read Teacher’s Guide: The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Visit our Education page for more curricula!

Mini BIO: Edgar Allan Poe

Do you know Poe?

Over the coming months, Big Read Connects Tucson will be exploring and celebrating Poe — the man, the myth and his works in great depth. Before we delve in, we’d like to provide context for the life and work of this master of the macabre!

Check out this short video biography about Edgar Allan Poe’s life and work, including his early life, his short stories, his poem “The Raven,” and his mysterious death in Baltimore in 1849.

Check the shadows. Poe is here.

We’re pleased to announce Big Read Connects Tucson, a community collaboration presented by Literacy Connects through a Big Read grant.

Join us and follow our blog, “Connected from Head to Poe” where you can explore the fascinating life and work of Edgar Allan Poe, learn more about our Big Read Connects Tucson events and discover how you can get connected to Poe. Stay tuned this August for posts on Poe’s world and words, works about Poe, and work inspired by Poe. In September, we will share Big Read Connects Tucson original content to bring you closer to Poe and all the Big Read Connects Tucson events happening around town. Learn about Poe’s mysterious death and equally mysterious birthday visitor. Learn about the movies inspired by Poe, Poe fiction or fact, how you can celebrate Poe and more. Get connected from head to Poe — follow us on social media and subscribe to our blog!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Poe

You’ve read Edgar Allan Poe’s terrifying stories. You can quote “The Raven.” How well do you know the writer’s quirky sense of humor and code-cracking abilities, though? Let’s take a look at five things you might not know about the acclaimed author, courtesy of Mental Floss.