I’ve searched and searched and searched, but I can’t find information on whether Mr. Poe ever used pencils to fashion his tales of the macabre. (If anyone has any, we’d appreciate it!) It really looks like he was an ink man. So I know; this post has little to do with pencils, then. But Mr. Poe is one of the patron writers of my hometown, so much so that they named their football team after his most famous poem. And I just plain like him.
But even if wishing Mr. Poe a Happy Birthday is not really “pencil related,” it can’t hurt to stop and think about the idea that all that separated him from the stories in his brain and posthumous fame was paper and something to write with. Pencil collectors, fanatics and casual users always have these on hand, since pencils usually come by the dozen or so. What if Mr. Poe had no ink or quill?
Besides, who among us has not read Poe with a Black Warrior of Dixon Black in hand, or written a scary story or grizzly poem without fancying her or his self to be in cahoots with the Master of Dark Writing in English?
For more information about Mr. Poe, visit the website of the famous (or infamous, lol) E. A. Poe Society of Baltimore. Great editions of Poe’s work can be found by the Library of America series, and you can get them at a very good price (comparable to less authoritative editions with typos, etc.) on Amazon or Overstock. They are based on the authoritative (but out of print) Harvard University edition. The Library of America also makes a great collection and analysis of Poe’s poetry in their American Poets Project, and the Everyman Library’s Pocket Poets edition is also excellent.
And finally, for a bit of fun, check out the adventures of Li’l Edgar (requires Flash) at Accoutrements, makers of the Poe action figure, Li’l Edgar figure and the Poe bobble head.