Poe Turns 200: 1809-2009

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 “I endeavored to shriek–, and my lips and my parched tongue moved convulsively together in the attempt–but no voice issued from the cavernous lungs which,  oppressed as if by the weight of some incumbent mountain, gasped and palpitated, with the heart, at every elaborate and struggling inspiration,” wrote Edgar Allan Poe in his chilling description of a man who has found himself buried alive in the 1844 short story “The Premature Burial.” The maestro of terror and the macabre, who penned such classics as “The Raven” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” was born 200 years ago in Boston, an event celebrated by the U.S. Postal Service’s issue of a 42-cent stamp in Poe’s honor. Baltimore (www.poe200th.com), Richmond (www.nevermore2009.com), and three others cities where Poe lived have planned events to celebrate the man who also refined the art of literary criticism, invented the detective genre, and inspired modern science fiction.