`Quoth the Raven': Poe's work appreciated 170 years later at St. John the Devine Cathedral


Johnston Historical Society members like president Elise Carlson, as well as Anthony Ursillo and Tim Kee, were among the many Edgar Allan Poe aficionados gathered in the courtyard of St. John the Devine Cathedral in Providence for the recent event “Raven’s Gathering: Poe, 170 Years Later.”

“It was an absolutely interesting and informative event,” Ursillo said. “It was exciting to get decked out in garb from years and years ago. People came to recognize the unique literary contributions of the famous American author, poet and suspense writer Edgar Allen Poe.”

Meanwhile, Carlson – who is in her first term as the society’s president, having succeeded longtime leader Louis McGowan – also had a part in the popular program.

“Elise recited some of Poe’s poems as well as ‘The Raven,’ which was a huge hit and was followed by a well-deserved round of applause,” Ursillo said. “Everyone of the attendees was impressed with the total program.”

Carl L. Johnson, a noted paranormal researcher, author and television personality, organized the event, while noted historian Christian H. Tobler served as the day’s master of ceremonies and also read “The Cask of Amontillado.”

John McNiff, a national park ranger who presides over the historic Roger Williams House, gave the guests an idea of what the city would have been like during the time that Poe was meeting Sarah Helen Whiteman at the St. John’s courtyard.

“John [McNiff] is always really interesting,” Ursillo said. “We were already familiar with many of his works since he came to the Johnston Historical Society for a special and informative program last year.”

Keith Johnson, Frances Osgood and Howard Hewitt also contributed to the event, while the H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe Commemorative Activities Committee – which presented the recent event – also sponsors several such readings during the year.

“That group also performs for library and school groups,” Ursillo said. “This was a special day for all Edgar Allan Poe admirers.”


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