Listen: Author Interview, Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe

Listen to WAMC’s interview with author J.W. Ocker about his Poe travel diary, which follows the odd life and legacy of Poe.

In the new Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan PoeJ. W. Ocker explores Poe’s strange physical legacy along the East Coast and across the ocean by touring Poe’s homes, examining artifacts from his life–locks of his hair, pieces of his coffin, original manuscripts, the bed where his wife died–and traveling to the many memorials dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe-Land is a unique travel diary that follows the afterlife of the poet, author, and critic who invented detective fiction, advanced the emerging genre of science fiction, and elevated the horror genre with an unrivaled mastery over the macabre that has made the genre what it is today.

Big Read Connects Tucson Officially Launches Today!

Hello Big Readers! Today is September 1st, which means today marks the official launch of Big Read Connects Tucson!

Over the next nine months, through May 2016, Literacy Connects and all of our community partners will be bringing you a host of events and activities to help you get connected to Edgar Allan Poe.

To kick things off, we thought we’d introduce something fun that will be going on throughout the program that anyone can get involved in. Big Read Connects Tucson wants everyone to read Poe. What better way to do that than to give away free books.

Introducing the “POEfound” project! Throughout the program we will be leaving Poe anthologies (and a few surprises) at various places around town for you to find. Coffee shops, park benches and theater chairs are all fair game, so keep your eyes open.

What’s the catch? All we ask is that you read your POEfound book and share with us where and when you found it, and anything else that you would like on our Big Read Connects Tucson Facebook page. On the inside front cover of each of these books you will find a sticker with some guidance on how to connect with us. Play along and have fun!

CTA Capture

We hope you are as excited about this as we are. Take a look at our Partner list and Event page for more ways to get involved. If you have any more fun, Poe-inspired ideas or plans by all means share that with us. Poe dinner party? Awesome! Poe costume contest? Perfect! Poe choral reading? Why not!

Don’t forget to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages as well to get connected from #HeadToPoe.

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. . . .”