Poe: A Life Cut Short - Peter Ackroyd Short and sweet. Ackroyd's Poe: A Life Cut Short presents a good, short biography of Poe's life. It is not an in depth biography, so if you are looking for a long debate about whether or not Poe had sex with his wife, it isn't in this book, thankfully. Despite the book's short length, Ackroyd does deliver some good analysis of Poe's work as well.