Although Sunday evening was cloudless and warm, even the good weather couldn't mar the mood of a ceremony marking Edgar Allen Poe's death 141 years ago. Organized by the Philomathean society, the ritual -- now in its fifth year -- featured dramatic readings of Poe's works, including the short story "A Tell-Tale Heart" and the poems "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee." The ceremony started on College Green with a walk of lamentation for Poe, accompanied by a song about Poe sung to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme. Philomathean Society members next recited Poe's poem, "The Bells," in front of Benjamin Franklin's statue. Approximately 30 people then joined group members in Philo's library in College Hall. By the dim light of candles, a candelabra, and a chandelier, attendees took turns reading from Poe's works under the watchful eye of a stuffed raven centerpiece borrowed just for the occasion. The readings were punctuated by sound effects provided by ceremony attendees. During "A Tell-Tale Heart," listeners stomped their feet to provide heartbeats mentioned in the story. Organizers said Sunday that they hoped to rekindle the excitement of poetry that students may not fully grasp in high school. "Some people are really turned off by poetry," explained organizer and Society member Emmanuel Morales. "So this is one way of reintroducing the fun of it." "How many deaths do you really celebrate each year?" added College senior Jacob Cogan, also a Society member. Morales and Cogan said the ceremony also serves as a convenient way to introduce prospective Society members to the activities of the group. They also said that Poe's death, on October 7, coincides neatly with the Philomathean Society's founding day, October 2. Prizes, ranging from a cassette of creepy sounds to a bag of barbarcued pork rinds, were awarded for different styles of reading. College senior Mia Lipsit said she came to the ceremony out of curiosity, but she walked away with a glow-in-the-dark spider for her performance during the short story readings. "It was kind of neat that it was up in the halls," she added. "The candles and all -- good for effect." According to Society members, the decision to commemorate Poe was made five years ago after Virgil couldn't be reached on the Society's Ouija board. Edgar Allen Poe, the early nineteenth century American writer of macabre short stories, poems and critiques, died on October 7, 1849.Comments powered by Disqus
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