“If they want a body, they can have John Wilkes Booth,” Mr. Jerome added.


The first time Edgar Allan Poe had a funeral, only 10 people showed up. The second time around, 350 mourners were expected, an increase of 3400%.

One factor driving up the attendance rate is that, during the 160 years since Poe’s death, his reputation has gone through a pretty thorough rehabilitation.  It also doesn’t hurt that two cities are currently duking it out for Poe City status.

I have to admit to having a horse in this race (and I am not saying which horse is mine), but I think Philadelphia’s claims are absurd, and insulting to persons of good will.  Okay, so maybe they have a National Park Service site dedicated to the man.  And maybe he did some of his most influential writing there.  But Baltimore has the actual corpse.  Possession is 9/10 of the law, and 10/10 of any serious claim to literary legacy.

Besides, according to The Wire, Baltimore is also known as Bodymore Murdaland.  Pretty scary stuff. Brotherly love?  What’s macabre about that?

-Norm De Plume

Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 11:20 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think a case can be made for RICHMOND as a city that can claim Poe – after all, he grew up in Richmond and spent more time in Richmond than any other place. Poe considered himself a Southerner and, according to reports, even spoke with a Southern accent.

    And the very reason he went to Baltimore was to get Maria Clemm and bring her BACK TO RICHMOND so that Maria could live with Poe and Elmyra Shelton after their marriage in Richmond – marriage that obviously never took place.

  2. Well, as I said, I have a horse in this race. It wouldn’t exactly do for me to mention other cities with stronger claims.

    Plus, Baltimore has the body. Might I suggest a daring, late night raid?

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