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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is being celebrated in October

The University’s Arts Institute has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to sponsor a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe as part of The Big Read, a national initiative that brings communities together to read, discuss, and celebrate literature.

The $14,750 grant, which the institute received on its initial application, will help sponsor nearly 30 events during October, many of them featuring Carolina students and faculty, in Columbia and across the state. All events are free, and all participants will receive a copy of the featured book, Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Poe’s birth.

The Big Read is an NEA initiative in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. The 268 Big Read grantees for 2009-10 represent 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since the program began in 2006 with 10 participating organizations, the NEA has given more than 800 grants to support local Big Read projects.

“This is very exciting, for this grant has allowed us to create innovative arts-based events on a statewide level that showcase Carolina scholars, artists, and students,” said Charlene Spearen, program coordinator for the Arts Institute.

The Arts Institute seeks to encourage collaboration among the arts disciplines and to make the University's cultural arts more visible to students and the community. The Arts Institute encourages and oversees interdepartmental projects in the arts, creates programs to make arts a more vital part of student life, and maintains a Web site that pulls together all arts-related activities, events, and outreach for easy access by the community.

Kwame Dawes, the Louise Fry Scudder professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, is the director of the Arts Institute.

Kwame Dawes
Kwame Dawes

Several of the events will showcase the talents of Carolina students.

Emerging senior poets from the University will join with award-winning puppeteers from the Columbia Marionette Theatre to bring to life some of the works included in The Big Read’s featured book. “‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and Poems and Stories by Edgar Allan Poe” will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Richland County Public Library, 1431 Assembly St.; from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Richland County Public Library, North Main Branch, 5306 N. Main St.; and from  6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Richland County Library, Southeast Regional Branch, 741 Garners Ferry Road.

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    For a complete list of events the Arts Institute has scheduled in Columbia and across the state to celebrate Edgar Allan Poe, click here.

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