My eighth-grade students LOVED this lesson, and so did I!
Whether your students are already "Poe pros" or they are just learning about the man and his works, they will get SO MUCH out of this exercise--NOT just about Poe, but also about how life affects texts.
A series of six stations is ready to go. Students rotate with a piece of paper, a pen, a clipboard, and a small group of fellow students. Each station has complete (and quick--5 minutes tops per station) directions prompting students to reflect on various situations, to write two adjectives describing how they would feel in those situations, and to add a question and a comment they might say if they were in those situations. They work silently at first, then share with partners, and then they move on to the next station.
What they will be SHOCKED and DELIGHTED to see at the end is that they will have written a POEM (an "Edgar Allan 'Poem'") inspired by and in the style of Poe himself. Meanwhile, they will have learned so much about his life, his loves, his loss, and his legacy.
From this point, they will not only be the proud poets of a Poe-inspired original piece, but they will also be ready to learn more about Poe and his work.