Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

Philosophy Professor Unveils Statue Professor and Sculptor Stefanie Rocknak’s Work Comes to Fruition In Boston


Alaina Shires

Edgar Allan Poe has returned to his hometown of Boston in the form of a statue, thanks to the creativity of Hartwick professor and sculptor Stefanie Rocknak. The statue was unveiled on Sunday, October 5, in a ceremonial celebration of Poe’s life and works.

Professor Rocknak reflected on the unveiling, saying “The event was fantastic.” A number of remarkable people from Boston—including the mayor, Marty Walsh, and a formal national poet laureate, Robert Pinsky—made an appearance. Hartwick College was also represented at the ceremony, not only by our own Professor Rocknak, but also by alumni and other professors.

Professor Rocknak continued about the event: “Before the unveiling, the Poe Foundation put on an hour- long program at the Park Plaza Hotel, with readings and some short talks. A recent Hartwick grad, Stephen Walling ‘12 did a great job doing a reading.”

Despite Poe growing up in Boston and publishing some of his most famous works there, he had a love-hate relationship with the city, as it did with him. Until now, Poe was a relatively unrepresented writer compared to Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow and Hawthorne, who are abundantly present in the august annals of literary achievement. While he thought some of these authors were self-important, they thought he was overly simplistic. However, these past sentiments were left behind on Sunday.

Professor Rocknak’s statue, titled “Poe Returning to Boston,” marks her debut into the major leagues of public art. For this reason, she remarked “It is very significant to me. I am also a Poe fan, so I really enjoyed working on the piece.” Her main goal was to capture Poe’s creative energy in his facial expression, his stride, his coat, his suitcase, and his raven. However, she also worked on “simultaneously saying something about his contentious relationship to Boston.”

The process of creating the statue—including the 19-inch model, the foam sculpture, the wood armature, the clay coat, the wax positives, the ceramic shells, the bronze, and the stainless steel structure—took about a year, including the shipping between New York and Massachusetts for various stages of the process.

The finished work can be found across from the Boston Common, in a triangular brick plaza at the intersection of Charles and Boylston streets.