Poetic Injustice

Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers

A.N. Devers notes that this year’s Super Bowl winner is “America’s only football team named after a poem”:

There are many layers to the Ravens’ literary allusion. There’s the fact that the team’s mascot is a collective of three black ravens respectively named Edgar, Allan and Poe. There’s the fact that the Ravens play less than a mile down the street from where Edgar Allan Poe is buried at Westminster Burial Ground. Then there’s the uncomfortable knowledge that the Ravens’ star player, Ray Lewis, was implicated in a double murder. Not to make light of murder, but on a team named after America’s first star horror writer, in a city where they peddle little Eddie Poe dolls next to Ravens’ jerseys in gift shops, it seems apro-Poe.

But Devers explains how poorly the city of Baltimore – and by extension its football franchise – has treated the legendary poet’s former house, which now serves as a Poe museum:

The Ravens’ lack of interest thus far in supporting the city’s literary legacy is a travesty. But the City of Baltimore’s privatization of the Poe House is even more so, particularly when considering the investment it made in bringing a national football team to town. The city afforded the Ravens, but it can’t seem to afford to properly staff and run a small house that draws several thousand new tourists to Baltimore a year? While I wish all those involved in trying to save the Poe house from closure all the success in the world, this debacle should serve as a warning bell for those of us who care about our American cities’ arts and cultural assets.

(Photo: The Baltimore Ravens mascot celebrates after the Ravens won 34-31 against the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. By Harry How/Getty Images)