Poe Returning to Boston

Submitted by Stefanie Rocknak

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Client: Poe Foundation of Boston, Boston Art Commission

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $225,000

Project Team

Artist

Stefanie Rocknak

Project Manager

Paul Lewis

Overview

Just off the train, Poe walks south towards his place of birth, where his mother and father once lived. Poe, with a trunk full of ideas—and worldwide success—is finally coming home.

His expression is complex. He is determined and his stride is decisive. His face reflects a mixture of pain, anger and sadness, and from some angles, a subtle sense of hope. As he walks towards Carver Street, 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. He has not only left his mark on the world, he has left it on the city of his birth. His ideas are jumping off the page and cascading out of his trunk; a heart lies on the papers just behind him, and an over-sized Raven explodes to the south. The Raven, which has become symbolic of Poe’s brooding creative spirit, visually reflects Poe; his coat mimics the raven’s wing. They are one, heading upwind towards their final resting place.

Goals

The Poe Foundation of Boston and the Boston Art Commission wanted a representation of Poe that was unique to the area. Making the figure place-specific was essential to the project.

Process

Throughout the process I worked with closely with the Poe Foundation of Boston, and Poe scholars. Together, we selected the fragments of text that are engraved on the 6 bronze pieces of paper that trail behind the figure.