Edgar Allan Poe? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: A hyperbolic statement about poetry has been credited to the major literary figure Edgar Allan Poe:
If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul, you haven’t experienced poetry.
Could this possibly be a genuine remark from Poe?
Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Edgar Allan Poe who died in 1849 wrote or said this statement. The attribution probably entered circulation via a known misquotation mechanism called ‘naming confusion’.
There is an account on Twitter called @Edgar_Allan_Poe that uses the handle “Edgar Allan Poe”. On May 7, 2014 the account tweeted the following. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul; you haven’t experienced poetry.
The tweet received more than 1,300 likes and more than 1,400 retweets by June 2021. Some who saw the tweet assumed that the statement had been crafted by the famous horror author, and propagated it with that attribution.
Yet, it is unlikely that the twitter account was being operated by the undead spirit of Poe; hence, the master of the macabre probably did not originate this quotation. Instead, the person behind the account @Edgar_Allan_Poe probably constructed it.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.