By: Felix Howton
Many contemporary readers consider Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) one of the most prominent and influential poets in American history. Although Poe passed away hundreds of years ago, his enthralling use of stories to exhume and examine the darkness in both the world and his own troubled past remains imprinted on the American imagination. A pioneer of the Romanticism movement, the writer produced work heavily characterized by emotional intensity. He lived a tragic and mysterious life, his father abandoning their family when Poe was young, and his mother dying only one year after in 1811 of tuberculosis. The horror and difficulty of his childhood manifests clearly through his life-work’s signature, macabre atmosphere; themes relating to death and suffering prove immediately noticeable in, and certainly typify, a Poe piece. His most famous poems – “The Raven”, “Lenore” and “Annabel Lee” all highlight his gruesome and hopeless mentality. Poetry exists as an art form for reflection, contemplation, and expression. In harnessing horrendous life experiences to create literature that terrifies and fascinates even centuries after his death, Edgar Allan Poe left an influential, albeit dark, legacy on American poetry.