Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809. This would be his 194th birthday. Of course he famously died pretty much literally face down in the gutter. He was a tortured soul with a rough row to hoe, and problems with booze and dope.
He was, however, one of the top ten or so best users of the written English language ever. He just flat had the skills to pay the bills. He pretty much invented the modern detective story. He wrote exceptionally good, lucid poetry.
He is probably best remembered for some horror short stories, such as "The Telltale Heart" and the supernatural intricacies of "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Masque of the Red Death." Stephen King has done some good work, but Poe makes him look like a P-U-N-K. Poe was, among other things, the best fulfillment of a literary gothic tradition. Any little poser goth kids ought to be studying Poe. He is the great role model.
In his life of struggles, Poe was certainly one of the most morbid writers ever to write major work in all of the English language. Perhaps making the point most succintly would come by quoting the whole of one of his most famous poems:
By Edgar A. Poe.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee; —
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love —
I and my Annabel Lee —
With a love that the wingéd seraphs in Heaven
Coveted her and me.