Halloween is just around the corner now, poetry lovers, and so now is the perfect time to study up and get inspired by that all-time petrifying poet: Edgar Allan Poe! While everyone is familiar with some of Poe’s spookiest stories- “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death” to name a few- Poe was also an accomplished poet, whose poems could be equally scary in their turn! Read on to learn a little more about Poe’s life, his work, and the legacy his terrific and terrifying style has left behind for poets looking to write their own horror poetry today!
Poe was born in 1809 in Boston to an actor-couple, Elizabeth and David Poe. But by 1811, his father had left the family and his mother had died, leaving then-2-year-old Poe to be raised by a foster family, the Allans. As young Edgar grew up, he lived an increasingly international lifestyle, sailing to England with his foster family in 1815, going to school in Scotland for a year, and moving back to America by 1820. Seven years later, he traveled back to the city of his birth, where he began writing for a newspaper, signaling the early beginnings of a career devoted to writing.
When writing as a living did not prove successful, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private, eventually working his way up the ranks to more prestigious positions, even attending the Military Academy at West Point (from which he was eventually court-martialed!). Throughout his time in the military, Poe was publishing, but his poetry collections did not initially receive much public attention. In fact, until the publication of his most famous work, “The Raven,” in 1845, Poe was not a household name.
Poe as We Know Him
The Edgar Allan Poe most people are familiar with is a practically mythological creature, enveloped in that stereotypical image of a tortured artist. His haunting tales, both in prose and verse forms, have influenced generation after generation to explore different genres of horror literature, including “horror poetry,” an unofficial yet popular genre. In honor of Poe, and the upcoming Halloween holiday, why not try penning your own poem with horror or mystery as its theme? If you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!