Edgar Allan Poe American Writer And Poet

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Poe was born to David and Elizabeth Poe in Boston, MA. Unfortunately, his father left the family in 1810 and his mother died of tuberculosis later that year. Poe was then taken in by John and Frances Allan in Richmond, VA. He attended University of Virginia for a brief voyage but had to withdraw because of lack of money.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army but later got discharged because he didn't attend any classes, formations or church. During this time the Allan's chose to disown Poe.In 1827, Poe publishes Tamerlane and Other Poems a collection of his poetry but he publishes this anonymously. Poe then switches his attention from literary criticism. Because of his fluctuation of work and alcoholism he moves between Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.

While in Baltimore in 1835 he marries his 13 year old cousin, Virginia Camm. He wrote "The Raven" which is one of his most noted poems in 1845. On January 30, 1847 Virginia dies of tuberculosis. Poe began working on his first journal The Sylus but he died before it was produced.

On October 7, 1849 Poe died in Baltimore, MA; though unknown to the cause of death many think it could be alcoholism, heart disease, tuberculosis and rabies.


The three major themes of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poems are untimely death, insanity, and horrific gore. These themes reflect his life. Edgar Allan Poe wrote most of his poems about losing his wife. He would write about the pain and hope of hopefully one day reuniting with her.

The most known poems are "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee". One theme that is in both is horror. Personal tragedy was a recurring theme in his life so Poe would embrace this into his poetry. (Reuben)The main theme of "The Raven" is of undying devotion. The narrator experiences a conflict between desire to forget and/or remember. He gets pleasure from focusing on loss.

The narrator assumes that the word "nevermore" is the raven's "only stock and store", and, yet, he continues to ask it questions, knowing what the answer will be. His questions, then, are purposely self-deprecating and further incite his feelings of loss. Poe leaves it unclear if the raven actually knows what it is saying or if it really intends to cause a reaction in the poem's narrator. The narrator begins his journey as weak and weary, and then becomes regretful and grief-stricken, before going into a frenzy and, finally, into madness. (Zott)"Annabel Lee" follows Poe's favorite theme: the death of a beautiful woman which Poe called "the most poetical topic in the world". Like women in many other works by Poe, she has married young and engulfed with illness.

The poem focuses on an ideal love which is unusually strong. In fact, the narrator's actions show that he not only loves Annabel Lee, but he worships her, something he can only do after her death. The narrator admits that he and Annabel Lee were both children when they fell in love, but his explanation that angels murdered her is in itself childish, suggesting he has not grown up much since then.

His repetition of this assertion suggests he is trying to rationalize his own excessive feelings of loss. (Zott)Unlike "The Raven", in which the narrator believes he will "nevermore" be reunited with his love, "Annabel Lee" says the two will be together again, as not even demons "can ever dissever" their souls. In a sense the narrator will be with Annabel Lee if not in this life then of the afterlife.(Zott)

Literary Technique

Poe would use gothic to appear to the masses. He believed that the meaning in literature should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface. Poe has an essay called "The Philosophy of Composition" in which he describes his method of writing "The Raven".

Poe wrote many poems before and after Virginia Camm's death.


Edgar Allan Poe used many various themes conveyed in his poetry to reach the public. He was only on the earth for 40 years, but managed to make his legacy in literature for decades to come. In December 2009, one copy of his book Tamerlane and Other Poems was sold at $662, 500 which is a record paid for American Literature. Poe has an extensive collection of poems, short stories, novels and essays.

Poe has landmark in Richmond, dorm room at the University of Virginia, Baltimore, Virginia and Bronx, New York.Adding to the mystery surrounding Poe's death, an unknown visitor affectionately referred to as the "Poe Toaster" paid homage to Poe's grave annually beginning in 1949. As the tradition carried on for more than 60 years, it is likely that the "Poe Toaster" was actually several individuals, though the tribute was always the same. Every January 19, in the early hours of the morning, the person made a toast of cognac to Poe's original grave marker and left three roses. Members of the Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore helped protect this tradition for decades. On August 15, 2007, Sam Porpora, a former historian at the Westminster Church in Baltimore where Poe is buried, claimed that he had started the tradition in the 1960s.

Porpora said the claim that the tradition began in 1949 was a hoax in order to raise money and enhance the profile of the church. His story has not been confirmed, and some details he gave to the press have been pointed out as factually inaccurate. For the first year since 1949, the Poe Toaster did not appear on January 19, 2010, leading to local speculation that the Toaster himself may have passed on. (Wikipedia)

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