I am assuming that you are referring to Edgar Allan Poe's life in its entirety.
If I were asking my students to summarize Poe's life, I would instruct them to first brainstorm, "web," or do some other type of pre-writing activity to begin thinking about what aspects of his life were most important. Considering the aspects of Poe's life that can certainly be assumed to have affected his writing, I suggest providing the basic information necessary to understand how much loss he encountered; I would mention his parents' death/abandoment, his disinheritance by guardians, the deaths of other loved ones (Virginia!), and his gambling due to poverty. In addition, I believe it would be important to mention his ability and successes, which provide a great deal of contrast to the many negatives of his life.
Obviously, any summary of Edgar Allan Poe's life would be incomplete without mention of his most famous and powerful works, such as "The Raven," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Provide information regarding the effect Poe's pieces have had on other writers and the literary world, in general.