You may have heard that the city is eliminating funding to operate the Poe House—saving a whopping $80,000 in the process—and that PETA offered financial help if it could display a pro-vegan ad at the site. That bizarre proposal was reportedly squashed when city officials claimed such an ad would be inappropriate for such a historic site.
Now, there’s a petition drive by “citizens of Baltimore City, friends and visitors of Baltimore City, and people from around the world who hold Edgar Allan Poe in the highest regard as one of the key and most important figures in American literature” urging Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to reconsider and “reverse the short-sighted decision to cut the funding of the Poe House and Museum.”
It goes on to note that Poe “is a `son of Baltimore.’ His fans and devotees around the globe look to Baltimore, his final resting place, and especially the Poe House and Museum, as fixed beacons of his life and work. We must not let them down.”
I instantly thought of 2009’s Great Poe Debate, in which Poe scholars Edward Pettit (from Philadelphia) and Paul Lewis (from Boston) charged that Baltimore doesn’t sufficiently honor Poe, and their cities are more justified in claiming the great writer’s legacy. Poe House Curator Jeff Jerome did a fantastic job defending our honor, and related stories about the literary dust-up ran in The New York Times and on National Public Radio. Time and time again, Jerome made us look good—you know, the city can’t buy that kind of PR. In fact, he mostly seemed perturbed that anyone would even question our Poe claims.
At this point, do we really want the city to distance itself from one of the greatest literary figures of all-time, a writer who continues to capture the imaginations of readers around the world? After all, we even named our football team after one of his most famous works.
You know, it would be great if the team could reciprocate in some way and acknowledge that it, to some degree, owes a debt to Poe. Could it kick in $80,000, maybe as some sort of surcharge on each ticket sold.
The team drew 569,817 fans to its eight regular season home games in 2010. To raise approximately $80,000 for the Poe House via a surcharge, you’d have to add 14 cents to the cost of each ticket. That's it... 14 cents. Throw in the preseason games, and it’s even less than that.
So actually, it would take barely a pittance for the Ravens to defend this house.