By Jason Policastro (Baltimore Brew, 1/20/2010)
Artist and poet David Franks was found dead January 14 (2010). The famed “Poe Toaster” failed to show up on January 19 (2010). Coincidence, or the final flourish of a dedicated prankster?
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The duality of Franks’ nature was such that even though he was capable of making you feel like the only person in a crowded room, his penchant for the “grand manner”, as he often put it, endured.
It would be just the sort of duality needed to keep secret a very public tradition: the identity of the Edgar Allen Poe toaster, who failed to show up at the writer’s grave this week for this first time since 1949. There is a theory afoot that Franks was the famed anonymous visitor to Poe’s grave.
Rafael Alvarez, president of the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore, appeared on WBAL AM the morning of Jan. 19 to discuss the possibility.
“It fit David’s love of the prank and the practical joke,” Alvarez said. “Particularly stunts that involved literary high wire acts.”
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