Edgar Allan Poe born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most important and influential American writers of the 19th century. He was the first author to try to make a professional living as a writer. Much of Poe's work was inspired by the events that happened around him.