New Poe Toaster Set to Make First Public Appearance

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An infrared image of the Original "Poe Toaster", taken by Bill Ballenberg, which appeared in Life Magazine
An infrared image of the Original “Poe Toaster”, taken by Bill Ballenberg, which appeared in Life Magazine.

catch of the day fish (2)In November, a new Poe Toaster was chosen from among the Baltimore masses. But it wasn’t time for this mysterious orator to appear, until this month.

The Poe Toaster began appearing at Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Westminster Hall & Burying Ground in the 1940s. Following a toast, he left three roses and a bottle of cognac as a tribute. The identity of this figure remained shrouded in mystery. Then, in 2009, he stopped appearing. But the Maryland Historical Society and other Poe enthusiasts sought to revive the tradition.

At the November event, 100 people judged a competition of performers angling to be the new Poe Toaster. The new orator will appear for the first time in public on Jan. 16, with a toast at Poe’s Monument to conclude a birthday observance at Westminster. The event, which begins at 3 p.m., will also include readings of famous works by Poe.

The Poe Toaster traditionally appeared on Poe’s birthday of Jan. 19, but we assume that appearance won’t be announced in advance.

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