Edgar Allan Poe’s love of cryptography

Edgar Allan Poe was fascinated by cryptography and codes.

Edgar Allan Poe was fascinated by cryptography and codes.

When you remember Edgar Allan Poe, you tend to think of people getting dismembered, buried or burnt alive.

Consequently, a lot of the programs during our Know Poe month this July are aimed toward teens and adults.

But we didn’t forget about the kids. We’ve found some fun ways to introduce Poe to children without traumatizing them.

For example, we’re hosting a program for kids about Poe’s love of cryptography this Saturday at our Headlands Branch.

And what is cryptography, you ask. It’s secret writing or, rather, it’s using codes and rubrics to hide secrets in plain sight. Poe was fascinated by cryptography and hid all sorts of secret messages in his prose and poetry. For example, he hid the name of his friend Sarah Anna Lewis in his poem “An Enigma.”

His treasure story, The Gold-Bug, even revolves around a coded message.

Kids entering third through sixth grade can solve a few cryptograms and even create a few of their own this Saturday at our Headlands Branch. Click here to register your child for our cryptography program. (By the way, all of our programs are free.)

And that’s not our only Know Poe program for kids. On  July 17, we’re unveiling a special obstacle course where all 10 obstacles come from Poe stories. Then, on July 22, kids can use their sleuthing skills to solve a mystery at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch. After all, Poe did invent the detective genre, as well as horror.

(By the way, I know it’s not for children but we’re hosting a special horror writing workshop for teens on on July 19 at our Main Branch. It’s a fun opportunity for young writers to hone their crafts.)

You can sign up for any and all of these Know Poe events on Mentor Public Library’s website.

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Mad science experiments for kids each Monday

Lily uses a frame to make an enormous bubble during Mad Science Monday at Mentor Library

Lily uses a frame to make an enormous bubble during Mad Science Monday at Mentor Library.

Mentor Public Library is dedicating its summer reading program to science this year. That means we’ve been blowing up pop bottles and bringing in NASA scientists to talk about Mars rovers.

Kids can get involved with the science, as well.

Every week we have Mad Science Monday from 1 to 2 p.m. outside of our Read House. We hold it rain or shine, and no registration is necessary.

Clara plays percussion by spraying a Splash Orchestra with water.

Clara plays percussion by spraying a Splash Orchestra with water.

Every Monday, kids can try out new experiments. So far this summer, they’ve already manipulated the shapes of bubbles, tested their five senses and used squirt guns as percussive instruments.

Kids can visit us each Monday to see what our new scientific theme is.

And, while you’re at the library, you and your children can sign up for our summer reading programs.

Owen gets a whiff of vinegar while learning about his five senses.

Owen gets a whiff of vinegar while learning about his five senses.

Everyone who participates in our summer reading programs—either by reading and/or attending library programs—has a chance to win prizes. Grand prizes include a $100 gift card from Toys ‘R’ Us for kids and Nook eReaders for teens and adults. The more someone reads, the better chance they have of winning something.

If you want to sign up for summer reading, you can register for it at any of our branches.

Visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page for more photos from Mad Science Mondays and our summer reading events.

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Thinking with Ink during Know Poe

Leah uses a fine paintbrush so she can ink detail lines.

Leah uses a fine paintbrush so she can ink detail lines.

We’re celebrating Edgar Allan Poe’s work all July during the Know Poe festival at Mentor Library.

When we talk about Poe’s influence, we’re mostly talking about his affect on writers. He did, after all, create two genres: the horror and detective story.

But Poe influenced all types of artists. (We’ve already discussed his effect on cinema.) And Monday, we talked about the influence his stories had on illustration.

Lou Geis includes a "Quote the Raven" in the corner of his inking.

Lou Geis includes a “Quote the Raven” in the corner of his inking.

Poe is associated with dark art—which is not to be confused with the dark arts. When his stories included illustrations, they all made us of heavy lines and midnight blacks. That’s partly a byproduct of technology. With the proliferation of presses, inked prints became more common than paintings.

So when Poe collections were being printed, it made more sense aesthetically and economically to illustrate them with dark, heavy inkings.

Elizabeth uses heavy, dark lines to draw the viewer's eyes to her tree branches.

Elizabeth uses heavy, dark lines to draw the viewer’s eyes to her tree branches.

Artist Del Borovic taught a workshop Monday night at our Main Branch that showed people how they can make their own Gothic ink masterpieces. (You can find more photos from the workshop on Mentor Library’s Facebook page.)

And we’ll be having more Poe events all month. Our Know Poe film festival continues this Thursday with a free screening of Vincent Price’s The Raven at the Atlas Cinemas at Great Lakes Mall.

Then, on July 19, we’re hosting a horror writing workshop for teens.

Click here for a full list of our Know Poe programming.

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Join our Poe Book Talks during One Book, One City

Mentor Library Know PoeSo you picked up a Know Poe book at one of our branches, Little Free Libraries, Java Express, Melt, Yours Truly, one of our Flash Libraries or wherever.

You read it and loved it—or hated it; you’re entitled to your opinions—and you want to know what to do next.

How about joining us and other readers to talk about it?

We’re having our first One Book, One City discussion today—that is Monday, July 7—at Walsh Park. Everyone is welcome to participate. You can register beforehand if you prefer, but it’s not mandatory.

Talk about what you loved, what you disliked, what scared you, what impressed you. Find out what other people thought.

And it’s all right if you can’t join us today, because we’re having these One Book, One City talks all month throughout the city of Mentor.

You can join us at any of the following locations for a discussion on Poe and his work. If you’ve always been interested in joining a book club or just love reading, this is a great place to begin.

Let’s get all of Mentor reading! Discussions will be at:

For more information, you can call Mentor Public Library at (440) 255-8811 ext. 215.

By the way, we’re hosting programs on Edgar Allan Poe all July—everything from a free film festival to horror writing workshops. Click here for a full list of all our Know Poe programs.

 

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Know Poe Film Festival Begins Tonight

the-pit-and-the-pendulum

Want to see a movie but don’t feel like spending money?

Watch one on us.

Our Know Poe Film Festival begins with a free screening of The Pit and the Pendulum at 7 p.m. today at the Atlas Cinemas at Great Lakes Mall.

That’s right. As part of our month-long celebration of Edgar Allan Poe, you can see this classic film (starring Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman) on the big screen in the comfort of an air-conditioned theater.

You don’t even have to register. Just show up. Bring the whole family if you want. (However, you should know that this movie has a couple moments that might scare the kids. We are talking about Price and Poe, after all.)

And that’s just the beginning. For the next four weeks, we’ll be offering free screenings of classic Vincent Price films that were inspired by Poe.

The showing times are:

You’ll also be able to see scary short films that were created as part of our Know Poe Video Contest. You’ll be impressed (and terrified) by what the filmmakers in our community made.

So that’s the deal: A classic horror movie on the big screen, short films by local filmmakers and all for free.

So how are you spending your Thursday night?

Visit Mentor Library’s website for more information on the month-long Know Poe celebration. There are programs for kids, teens and adults and they’re all free.

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