Poe: Learn & Play

The "Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster?" exhibition features elements created with young visitors and educators in mind. Below are resources, information, and activities designed to help young people appreciate and enjoy the content of the exhibition, as well as understand Poe's significance as an American writer.

The "I Know Poe Game Show" Interactive
Do you think you know Edgar Allan Poe? Put your knowledge to the test in the "I Know Poe Game Show" interactive, hosted by none other than our own Little Edgar and his pal, Nevermore the Raven. Players will have a chance to answer questions about little-known facts of Poe's life. Answer correctly and win Poe's praise. Fail to demonstrate an appreciation of Poe's life and–gulp!—face the consequences.

Visit the exhibition pages or read the text below for helpful hints!

Poe the Man

Born in 1809, Edgar Allan Poe is considered by many to be the father of American literature. Poe spent much of his life in Richmond, Virginia, and, although he lived in many other states during his life, considered himself to be a Virginian. [more…]

Poe the Myth

Poe was intelligent and wrote very well. While his active imagination was a gift, it could also cause problems. Poe didn't always tell the truth about his own life [more…]

Poe the Monster

Well, he wasn't really a monster; but Poe used his imagination to create scary characters, spooky animals, and wild stories. It made him popular during his lifetime, and since his death, other writers, artists, and filmmakers have been influenced by his work. [more…]

Learn more about Poe by downloading our special tabloid-style exhibition guide for "Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster", which incorporates elements for both adults and children. Learn interesting tidbits about Poe's life and works, and play games, puzzles, and activities. This accompaniment to the exhibition is also available as a print piece in the gallery.

When visiting the exhibition, look for Little Edgar placed strategically throughout the gallery. He will playfully direct children through the highlights of the exhibition and help them understand facts about Poe's life and writings.



Edgar Allan Poe had an extremely large vocabulary. His ability to read and understand lots of different words was essential to his work as a writer and literary critic. Poe is credited with making up new words to express his thoughts. Below are a few samples:

bug•a•boo [buhg-uh-boo]: a bug or a ghost

ca•dav•er•ous•ness [kuh-dav-er-uhs-nes]: like a corpse; pale; ghastly

crypt•o•graph [krip-tuh-graf]: a secret system of writer; a cipher

di•dac•tic [dahy-dak-tik]: teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson

didd•ler [did-ler]: a cheater; a swindler

dun•der•head•ism [duhn-der-hed-iz-uhm]: the act or practice of behaving like a dunce or a numbskull

fin•i•cky [fin-i-kee]: excessively particular or choosy

flum•flumm•er•y [fluhm-fluhm-er-ee]: a combination of flimflam (to trick) and flummery (nonsense)

hy•ster•i•a [hi-ster-ee-uh]: an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear

quack•y [kwak-ee]: unusual or inaccurate

tin•tin•na•bu•la•tion [tin-ti-nab-yuh-ley-shuhn]: the ringing or sounding of bells or a jingling or tinkling sound as if of bells.

tod•dled [tod-ld]: intoxicated with toddy (a mixture of alcohol, hot water, sugar, and spices-rum toddy)

Now that you've learned some new words, can you find them, as well as other words related to Poe's life & works, in our Edgar Allan Poe "PoeCabulary" word search game?

PoeCabulary Poetry Play Set
Visitors to the exhibition can create their own poetry using our large board and the more than 200 magnetic words taken from Poe's works!


Tours and Educational Programs Available

The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular Library business hours. Group tours and related educational programs are available for groups by appointment only.

The educational programs guide students in the investigation of primary source documents about Poe's life and can be adapted for elementary through middle school students; both experiences contain elements that correlate to the Virginia Standards of Learning for the social sciences and language arts:

"The Truth about Poe" is a detective activity that challenges participants to separate fiction from the facts of Poe's life by analyzing primary source documents. SOL Correlations: History and Social Studies - VS.1 (a, d), USI.1(a), VUS.1(a, b, g); English - 4.5 (b), 4.6 (a, c), 6.5 (a, b, d), 7.6 (c, d), 8.6 (a, b, e, h, i)

"Mapping Poe's Richmond" calls on students to use their mapping skills to answer questions related to Poe's life and the history of the city of Richmond.SOL Correlations: History and Social Studies - VS.1 (a, i), USI.1(a, b, f), VUS.1(a, b, d, g)

Approximately 1 hour each, these programs are free but limited by staff availability and must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance. For more information contact the education staff at the Library of Virginia using www.lva.virginia.gov/about/contact.asp.

For a full list of Poe-related events available, please visit our news & events page.