Poe Returning to Boston

Submitted by Stefanie Rocknak

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Client: City of Boston, Poe Foundation of Boston

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $225,000

Project Team

Artist

Stefanie Rocknak

Client

City of Boston, Poe Foundation of Boston

Overview

Just off the train, the life size (5’ 8”) Poe is walking south: away from the Frog Pond and toward 62 Carver Street where his parents were living around the time he was born. He openly dismisses what is behind him with his left hand; the Frogpondians to the north; Boston is not claiming Poe, Poe is claiming Boston. To punctuate this, he leaves a literal paper trail behind him. His ideas jump off the page and cascade out of his trunk; a heart lies on the papers just behind him, and an oversized Raven explodes to the south.

Goals

An international contest was held--over 250 artists applied. The Boston Art Commission laid down certain guidelines; they did not want this to be a Poe that could fit in any setting. It had to be Boston-specific, and so, take Poe's critics into account, as well as his birthplace.

Process

I worked closely with the Boston Art Commission and The Poe Foundation of Boston. After listening to what their parameters were, I designed the piece in wood, and then, after being selected, I had it enlarged and cast in bronze. Multiple phases of design checks were a part of this process. It was finally installed in October 2014.

Additional Information

This piece is life size (5' 8") to convey the human aspect of Poe, while the Raven is oversized, to convey his larger-than-life literary reputation. The size also reflects the small square (triangle) that he is installed in. Every effort was made to successfully integrate this piece into the space. Poe walks with the pedestrians, not over them, or against them.