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Edgar Allan Poe descends on San Diego County for monthlong fest

April 8, 2012 |  8:29 am


Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven," and Poe's other sometimes gloomy, often hypnotic, and nearly always weird poems and tales are the focus of a monthlong celebration in San Diego County called "Shades of Poe."

Readings and panel discussions and all manner of Poe musings are being held throughout the county, with new offerings each day.

And on Saturdays, actors reading Poe will appear at some of San Diego's trolley stops, starting yesterday at Santee, a suburb east of San Diego. The purpose of the Poe fest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, is to spark, or respark, interest in reading, particularly for those ages 12 to 24.

Poe died in 1849 under circumstances still mysterious. But his themes and style remain modern.

"Any writing in horror, suspense, or psychological thriller owes a debt to Poe," said Charles Harrington Elster, San Diego author and former co-host of "A Way With Words," a program on public radio.

Said Veronica Murphy, artistic director of Write Out Loud, a sponsor of the festival: "Poe was the original Goth."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego


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Photo: Celeste Innocenti, artistic director of the Chronos Theatre Group, reads Poe poems at the Santee trolley station as set designer Mark Robertson maneuvers his Poe puppet. Credit: Tony Perry / Los Angeles Times