Edgar Allan Poe? Poe? Anne D. Danielewski? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Edgar Allan Poe authored groundbreaking tales in three different genres: horror, mystery, and science fiction. Numerous websites attribute the following emotion-laden passage to the literary master:
Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants; the way it stops and starts.
I have been unable to locate these words in any story written by the famous nineteenth-century romanticist. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: There is no substantive support for the ascription to Edgar Allan Poe.
Instead, the lines should be credited to the American singer/songwriter Poe. She released an album called “Haunted” in 2000, and the quotation was spoken by her during the fifth track which was about 52 seconds long. The audio can currently be heard on YouTube and Amazon: 1
Sometimes, I’m terrified of my heart, of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants; the way it stops and starts.
Note that the audio and video available on YouTube changes over time. E. A. Poe is long dead, but the Poe who crafted the words above is very much alive and has a large cohort of fans and enthusiasts. Poe’s birth name was Anne Decatur Danielewski according Wikipedia, IMDB.com, and last.fm.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- YouTube video, Title: Terrified Heart Poe, Uploaded on March 12, 2012, Uploaded by: Amanda Johnston, (There is a delay before the final word is spoken), Description by Uploader: Song by Poe, Album – Haunted, 2001, (Album actually released in October 2000 according to metacritic.com). (Accessed on youtube.com on March 21, 2015) link ↩