My first Poe exposure was from the Simpsons. It was their very first Treehouse of Horror special, in the second season, in 1990. I realize now what a very long time the Simposons has been going, and also how long it's been since I've watched it (years and years). My dad would watch it with me, and In Living Color, which came on right before if I'm remembering right. He ascertained, correctly, that over-my-head jokes wouldn't bother me because they were, y'know, over my head.
But I digress.
They did "The Raven" in that first Treehouse of Horror, Homer acting out the scenes in a big ol' mansion. The Raven was Bart. This may have also been one of my first introductions to a frame story; I believe it wasn't until seventh or eight grade that they told us what those were, using (I think) Mark Twain's "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". The Simpsons being the frame, not the poem "The Raven" itself. (You can also hear "The Raven" read by Christopher Walken, and you probably should. He's pretty amazing, in general.) I knew "Pallas", or thought I did anyway, from reading D'Aulaire's book of Greek Myths, one of my first long books. It more or less means Athena, or does so on a long enough timeline anyway.
After that, I read a collection of Poe's works. At age 8, this was mystifying. "The Tell-Tale Heart", okay, that more or less made sense. There was some vocabulary overlap with Just So Stories (like "sagacity"). Even "The Black Cat"was understandable, on the basest level. But "The Cask of Amontillado"? Betrayal was such a grown-up concept to me, previously displayed only by Judas. And how did you say Amontillado? What was Amontillado? But you can bet I remember the little bells on the jester's cap. That story was also perhaps my first introduction to Venice, revisited infrequently and nearly always in a fantasy (Lev Grossman's The Magician King) or magical realism (Jeanette Winterson's The Passion [which might not be its strict definition, but I don't know what else to call it, other than "really good and you should read it"], or Cornelia Funcke's The Thief Lord) way. Jon Berendt's City of Falling Angels is real in the strictest sense but did nothing to wake my visceral impressions of Venice from its dream world of possibilities.
Similarly, I read "The Pit and the Pendulum" but didn't know yet what the Inquisition was (seeing the Monty Python sketch a few years later was not enlightening). But I remember the rats. And the dread. I could understand the concept of the near miss; Looney Tunes gave me that, along with a baseline recognition of many classical themes.
This early Poe reading certainly prepared me for Lovecraft in college, which I wish I'd read far sooner. Cthulhu enriches everybody's life, along with the notion that there are shady underpinnings to the real world. Cults. Mythos. Knowledge. Forbidden knowledge. These are very strong words for the fertile, precocious imagination. Can one still be precocious, as an adult, or is that a descriptor you shed like a chrysalis? When do you become a "real" adult? I feel like I'm still finding out, sometimes.