A show in the auditorium and opening of an art exhibition in the Rotunda gallery at the Henry Ford Centennial Library kicked off another run of The Big Read Dearborn events in the Dearborn community, this time focused on the best works of the 19th Century pioneer in mystery, Gothic, horror and science fiction writing, Edgar Allan Poe.
While Saturday’s speakers gave recognition to some Big Read Dearborn participants and several people performed material from a packed auditorium, others enjoyed light refreshments and visited tables set up in front of the artworks exhibited in the Artists’ Society of Dearborn’s Feb.6-25 show. The tables provided printed materials from Big Read Dearborn’s partners and sponsors, raffle slips for the drawing to win a free night at The Dearborn Inn’s Poe House, “Do You Know Poe?”-imprinted t-shirts on-sale, special discount sales on tickets to a couple of Poe-themed events by the Dearborn Public Library Foundation, and information handouts and an adoptable cat from Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
After the success of the Big Read Dearborn program on Jack London’s Call of the Wild, the Dearborn Public Library has been able to again line up community partners and sponsors in winning another $10,000 grant last year for another lineup of activities throughout the community in February and March, this time to “help bring Poe back to life!” according to Dearborn Public Library Director Maryanne Bartles, who emceed the auditorium program yesterday afternoon.
“For the library staff, this is over and above the normal activities,” said Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr., after Bartles introduced him during the auditorium programming. “Two years ago when we had the first Big Read, it’s a competitive thing, it’s national, and there are 27 awards given, and we were one of those 27, and the library staff and everyone got so committed and made it work.
“And here we are being able to do it again, which is really amazing, many communities are lucky to get it once and we have a second time at it. The creativity that everybody who is involved with this is bringing to the table, is amazing, so we have events going on all over the place, and some of them are kind of interesting,” he said.
Following the launch event last October and the Feb. 6 kickoff that was hosted by the Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, starting tomorrow the full schedule of remaining Big Read Dearborn events given out yesterday are:
- Monday, February 8
Teen Book Discussion in the Ten Eyck Administrative Building, 20601 Rotunda Dr., Dearborn. Come and discuss Poe’s Great Tales and Poems with the Dearborn Youth Commission. For grades 6-12 (pick up a free copy of the book at any Dearborn public library).
Poe Film Festival: The Black Cat (1934). Part of the Blockbusters free film series Mondays in the Henry Ford Centennial Library auditorium.
- Tuesday, February 9
Cranial Capacity of Corvids: What It Really Means to Be a “Bird Brain” in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Join corvid researcher Dr. Star Kraven-Madd of Concorvidae University in partnership with naturalist Dorothy McLeer and the University of Michigan-Dearborn Interpretive Center for a look at the antics and problem-solving abilities of the blue jays, gray jays, American crows and common ravens which have carved out a place in literature, including Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven.”
- Wednesday, February 10
“Dreams” Ice Sculpture Exhibit opens at Henry Ford College Dearborn, 5101 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn
- Thursday, February 11
Book discussion at Arab American National Museum’s Russell J. Ebeid Library & Resource, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. Poe’s Great Stories and Poems will be discussed.
- Saturday, February 13
Portraits of Poe at Green Brain Comics, 13936 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. The illustrators of this graphic novel will be meeting fans and signing copies of the book, given away free while supplies last (to register for this event, call (313) 943-2330 or visit dearbornlibrary.org).
- Sunday, February 14
Valentine’s Day Discussion of “Annabel Lee” in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Library Patty Podzikowski will discuss Poe’s poem of undying love in English and Arabic (pick up a free copy of the book at any Dearborn public library).
- Tuesday, February 16
Forensic Art: Capturing the Living, Identifying the Dead in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Detective Sarah Krebs is an experienced forensic artist who has received recent news coverage of her solving cases in Detroit. She will discuss identification, missing persons location, victims, criminals and more.
- Wednesday, February 17
Classics Revisited Book Discussion in the Ford Collection Room of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. This program discusses a literary classic on the third Wednesday of every month , and will discuss Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (reserve copies at the library by calling (313) 943-2330, or by visiting www.dearbornlibrary.org).
- Thursday, February 18
Poe Craft in the Youth Services Department of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Children will make a Thaumatrope, a moving picture toy popular during the era of Edgar Allan Poe (younger children may require assistance from caregivers),
Pizza & Pages Teen Book Discussion in the Youth Services Department of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Grades 6-12 will enjoy (parents or younger siblings won’t) pizza and dessert around a campfire, while discussing Poe’s Great Tales and Poems.
- Saturday, February 20
Poe Writing Workshop in Wet Room 1 of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave. Learn from Dearborn’s own Anne Gautreau gives tips on how to write like Poe.
- Monday, February 22
Poe Film Festival: House of Usher (1960). Part of the Blockbusters free film series Mondays in the Henry Ford Centennial Library auditorium.
- Tuesday, February 23
Daring Dreams Storytime in the Youth Services Department of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Ages 5-8 year (younger children welcome, but parents should be aware some stories may be scary) can enjoy some of the library’s quirkier picture books, and a craft in the spirit of Poe.
- Wednesday, February 24
Poe Pub Crawl at Dearborn Brewing, 21930 Michigan Ave., Dearborn from 7-9 p.m., and at Bailey’s, 22091 Michigan Ave., Dearborn from 9:15-11 p.m. Discuss Poe while having a Poe-inspired drink along the way. Participants will receive $1 off pints at Dearborn Brewing and light appetizers at Bailey’s,
- Thursday, February 25
Dreaming Dreams Keynote Panel Discussion at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigian Library, Room 1212, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn. Professors Shelly Jarenski of UM-D, Stephen Rachman of Michigan State University, and John Rietz of Henry Ford College explores the role of dreams in Poe’s works.
- Saturday, February 27
No Mortal Dared to Dream Party in the Youth Services Department of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Snacks, craft and a little storytelling are waiting for Grades 4 and above (no younger siblings) who dare to come.
- Tuesday, March 1
“Return of the Raven Puppet Show” at Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George St., Dearborn Heights. Youth librarian Mr. Jim will do a cheerful humorous program dealing with—the works of Edgar Allan Poe? Wait, Poe didn’t write any poems or stories that are cheerful or humorous! It’s Tiberious T. Tiger to the rescue.
- Wednesday, March 2
Book Discussion in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Poe enthusiast David Spence will discuss Poe’s works.
Medicine, Mental Illness & the Macabre: Malady in the Works of Poe in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Drawing from classic Poe tales as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat,”: expert panelists will delve into the madness and medicine of the man and his stories. It is widely believed Poe suffered from mental illness himself, and his own experiences may have informed his characters, and the psychology and descriptions of medicine in Poe’s writing. Join Beaumont Medical Reference Librarian Courtney Mandarino for the psychology and medicine descriptions discussion.
- Thursday, March 3
Mortuary Science Lecture in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Wayne State University Professor Mark Evely will speak on mortuary science.
- Friday, March 4
Cask of Amontillado Wine Tasting in the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Purchase of $15 tickets at Henry Ford Centennial Library desk covers tasting a variety of fine wines and light hors d’oevuvres.
- Saturday, March 5
Dream Interpretation with Mike Stratton in the Henry Ford Centennial Library auditorium. In working with dreams, Stratton takes the approach that focuses on dream appreciation rather than dream interpretation. He believes there is a way to live with the dream and appreciate its message without taking a “fast food” approach labeling and diminishing the message of the dream.
- Monday, March 7
Poe Film Festival: Tales of Terror (1962). Part of the Blockbusters free film series Mondays in the Henry Ford Centennial Library auditorium.
- Tuesday, March 8
Book Discussion at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigan Library. Discuss Poe’s Great Tales and Poems with Mardigan Library’s book group, R.E.A.D.
“Return of the Raven Puppet Show” at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Library, 24602 Van Born Road in Dearborn Heights.Youth Librarian Mr. Jim and Tiberious T. Tiger take their show down to the south end of Dearborn Heights.
Daring Dreams Storytime at the Henry Ford Centennial Library Youth Services Department. Ages 5-8 years (younger children welcome, but parents must be aware that some stories may be scary) can enjoy some of the library’s quirkier picture groups and a craft in the spirit of Poe.
- Wednesday, March 9
The Gothic Revival at the Benson Ford Research Center Conference Room at 20900 Oakwood, Dearborn. The Henry Ford Decorative Arts Curator Charles Sable will talk about the origins of the Gothic Revival, and tie in Poe’s Dark Romanticism (calling forth examples of Gothic Revival in the museum’s collections).
- Thursday, March 10
Dearborn Arsenal in Poe’s Time in the Dearborn Historical Museum, 915 Brady St., Dearborn. Learn what Dearborn was like in Poe’s day.
- Friday, March 11
Whodunnit at the Library at the Mezzanine Level of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Purchase of a $30 ticket ($50 for two) at the Henry Ford Centennial Library desk will cover the interactive mystery show, dinner buffet, and beer and wine.
- Monday, March 14
Book Discussion at the Eshleman Library, 5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn. Learn about Poe and discuss his works with Professor John Reitz of Henry Ford College. Pick up a copy of the tabloid at any Dearborn Public Library.
- Tuesday, March 15
Al Aaraaf Lecture at the Arab American National Museum auditorium, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. Using Poe’s early poem “Al Aaraaf” as a focal point, Professor Stephen Rachman of Michigan State University will explore Poe’s interest in Arab and Islamic literature, his orientalism,and its connections to his more serious works.
Another show has been added at the Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George St. The Animal Capers Puppets return again to the north end of Dearborn Heights to make another presentation of “The Unknown Humorous Tales of Edgar Allen Poe” for those who could not make the March 1 show. An appearance of Basil the Bear has been promised at both the March 8 JFK show and this show–“if we can wake him.”
- Wednesday, March 16
Paranormal Investigations: The Spirit of Poe at the Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George St., Dearborn Heights. Kristy Robinett’s book, Forevermore: Guided in the Spirit by Edgar Allan Poe tells the story of how meeting Edgar Allan Poe as a spirit guide at age 13 helped fulfill her destiny as a writer and psychic medium.
- Thursday, March 17
Poe Craft at the Youth Services Department of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Enjoy a Poe-inspired craft (younger children may require assistance from caregivers) from Poe’s Menagerie. Make one of the animals mentioned in Poe’s poetry and stories.
English as a Second Language Book Discussion in Arabic/English in Room 30 of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Discuss Poe’s Great Tales and Poems using English/Arabic bilingual copies of the book (pick up a free copy of the book at any Dearborn public library).
- Saturday, March 19
Wrap Up Event: Meet Poe! in the Henry Ford Centennial Library auditorium. This is your chance to meet Poe in person, hear his story, and ask him questions! The drawing will also take place for the free night at the Poe House, courtesy of the Dearborn Inn. (Must be 21 or older to enter the drawing, and the more anyone attends these future events and receives a drawing slip, the better chance of winning: Poe Film Festival—Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 7, Cranial Capacity of Corvids—Feb. 9, Valentine’s Day Discussion—Feb. 14, Forensic Art—Feb. 16, Classics Revisited Book Discussion—Feb. 17, Book Discussion—March 2, Mortuary Science Lecture—March 3, Wine Tasting—March 4, Dream Interpretation with Mike Stratton—March 5, Whodunnit—March 11, ESL Book Discussion—March 17, and Wrap Up Event).
This calendar of Big Read Dearborn scheduled events, along with a brief biography of Poe and selected works by Poe with illustrations by students at the Michael Barry Career Center, accompanied by discussion questions on Poe’s stories and poems, as well as a list of Big Read Dearborn’s partners and sponsors, were in free copies of the “Do You Know Poe?” tabloid distributed in the Rotunda Gallery (along with free copies of the paperback Simon & Schuster Enriched Classic, Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe) at the Feb. 6 kickoff.
Michael Berry Center faculty member Philip McMullen presented to the audience all the illustrators who worked on the tabloid: Daniel Carl (who illustrated “Annabelle Lee”), Nour Daoud (“Goldbug” and “El Dorado”), Aya Elmokadam (“Black Cat”), Thomas Bell “Dreamland”), Hadi Boumelhem (“The Raven”), AliTarraf (“Lenore”), Dalia Elmokadem (“Al Araaf”), and Ethan Herzfeld (“A Dream Within a Dream”). Instructor Angelo Aquino was not present to participate, and neither were Ray Lovett, Josiah Monterosso or Kyna Waskul.
Artists’ Society of Dearborn President Janet Kondziela presented awards to the winners of the art exhibit in the Rotunda.
“Leslie (Herrick) and EmmaJean (Woodyard) are the (Dearborn) Community Fund, so about 18 months ago they came to me as president of the Artists Society and asked me if the Artists Society of Dearborn would be interested in coordinating a show,” Kondziela said. “I went, ‘Sure, piece of cake’—was I wrong.
“It took so many community meetings, so many hours, so much hard work to make it happen, but I think we came up with a pretty amazing show,” Kondziela said.
The show was judged by Mohamad Bazzi, art instructor for Dearborn Public Schools. Most art shows are juried according to three major criteria, Kondziela said: concept, execution, and presentation (such as whether it was framed properly). However, this was a themed show, themed not only by Poe but by a specific line from The Raven “Dreaming Dreams No Mortals Ever Dared Dream Before,” so she said the award winners were also judged for how their work captured the spirit of Poe’s surrealistic narrative, while being artistically innovative irrespective of Poe’s work.
Bazzi was so impressed with the entries that he awarded an unprecedented five honorary mentions “for a show this size”, she said in announcing the winners: Mark Hoger for the latex painting “Tragedy Man,” Kathleen McNameee for the encaustic “Mad Moon,” Kelsey Moore for the oil painting “Utopia,” Gary VanGorp for the acrylic“Bird Dog Dreams” and herself for her acrylic “My Soul Shall be Lifted -Nevermore.” Taking third place was Kathleen Boettcher for the mixed media “People of the Stone,” second place was Gary VanGorp for the acrylic “Train Tracks No. 229,” and first place was Diane Szomolyai for the acrylic “One of These Days.”
Faculty Advisor Gregory P. Viscomi presented his Dearborn High School Thespian Troupe. Trevor Berry did a reading of the “Haunted Palace.” Ann Karoub performed “Annabel Lee” and Michael Prosi performed “The Sleeper,” and then all three joined in for a reading of “The Raven.” Anthony Lucas from The Henry Ford then performed “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Interspersed among these readings of Poe were selections played by a Dearborn Symphony Orchestra quartet. First Violin Joseph Deller and Second Violin Daniel Winnick, as well as Alycia Wilder on viola and Yawn Hsu on cello. They started with Frederic Chopin’s “Raindrop Prelude, Opus 28, No.15,” and followed with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg and “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Susan Harrison, a vice president and branch manager for DFCU Financial, also addressed the gathering in the auditorium on behalf of Big Read Dearborn’s Raven-level ($5,000) sponsor. Harrison said that DFCU Financial supports literacy and education, “and the great men and women who have brought us ageless stories that have stuck with us for a lifetime.”
Poe was one of those legends, she said. Even though he published his first book in 1827, according to Harrison, his writings have not only stood the test of time and stayed relevant, but the character of Poe has appeared on TV series like The Simpsons and Witches of the East End, in films like The Raven, Twixt and The Lives and Deaths of the Poets, and has been referenced in comic books, theater productions and more books.
:”Many depictions of Poe interweave with his works,” Harrison said. “They depict him as a tormented artist, or even a mad genius—however he is being today, he is relevant.
“As his art continues to fascinate generation after generation, we at DFCU are proud to play a part in bringing this literary legend to adults and children alike. As one of the largest credit unions in the state of Michigan, and headquartered here in Dearborn, DFCU Financial lives literacy and education as our main community focus. Thank you,” she said.
Despite the local talent being exhibited in the kickoff, O’Reilly had said in following up on Harrison’s talk, the core and base of the program “is reading.” What he wants young people to understand, he said, that language is the way to comprehend what someone “is trying to tell us,” and transfer it into other people’s understanding so it can be acted on.
Even when people use another language “we don’t know, we try to communicate,” O’Reilly added, so the more anyone learns, and the more words anyone knows or expands their knowledge of language, “the more we’re going to know what people want to tell us, and we’re going to be able to communicate with people better.” The baseline to being successful in society, the mayor said, being able to communicate is necessary.
“It’s also about the quality of life, the more you’re able to read, and the broader your language base and the broader you ability to interpret language, the greater quality your life will have,” O’Reilly said. “So that’s what we’re celebrating, and it’s the whole city celebrating which I love, and with our school district and great partnership, we just look forward to it.
“But this is about you having a great time, and enjoying each other, and getting to know each other, so thank you for being here,” he said.
Saying her organization was happy to partnering with Big Read Dearborn just as last time, Dearborn Symphony President Sandy Butler explained that as glad as the Dearborn Symphony was to add to the festivities of the kickoff, “but more than that, and as the mayor talked about language, music is a language.
“You might know about the very strong connection between the study of music and proficiency in math,” Butler said. “Maybe you don’t know the proficiency that exists between the study of music and even the listening of music, and reading, because they are both languages, and as you become more proficient in one language, it enables you to learn more about another language.”
Besides the city of Dearborn, Artists’ Society of Dearborn, Dearborn Community Fund, Dearborn Public Schools and Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, other partners in Big Read Dearborn:
American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dearborn, Arab American National Museum, Dearborn Education Foundation, Dearborn Heights City Libraries, Dearborn Historical Museum, Dearborn Inn, Dearborn Library Commission, Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, Friends of the Library-Dearborn, Henry Ford College Eschelman Library, Henry Ford Academy, Muslim American Youth Academy, Oakwood Medical Library, The Henry Ford, and University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigian Library.
Besides DFCU Financial, other sponsors of Big Read Dearborn: Gold Bug ($1,000)—East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, Dearborn Public Library Foundation, Friends of the Library-Dearborn; and Eldorado (up to $500)—Dearborn Community Fund, Henry Ford College Eschelman Library and University of Michigan-Dearborn Mardigian Library.
Visit bigreaddearborn.org to sign up for email updates, and view the full schedule of events (a few event require registration or tickets). Before attending, please visit that website or call the Henry Ford Centennial Library at (313) 943-2330 for the most up-to-date information. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest, and is a One Book One Community program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The Henry Ford Centennial Library is located on the eastern edge of the city’s municipal complex on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Greenfield, flanked to the east by the Dearborn Police Headquarters and 19th District Court, and The Ford Community and Performing Arts Center; and to the west by an athletic field and the Dearborn Administrative Center. It is on the south side of Michigan Avenue (U.S-12), generally across from Ford World Headquarters and just east of Exit 6 off the Southfield Freeway (M-39).