‘Do Not Let The World Make You Hard’ – Did Kurt Vonnegut Write This Poem About Bitterness?

Aislinn Murphy | Assistant Managing Editor

A post shared on Facebook credits author Kurt Vonnegut with saying, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.”

“Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place,” the quote continues.

Verdict: False

This passage was actually written by Iain Thomas in 2007 and later published in his poetry collection “I Wrote This For You.”

Fact Check: 

Vonnegut was an American author best known for his satirical writing style. He wrote several novels that are considered classics, including “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “Cat’s Cradle.”

Vonnegut’s status as a literary icon has prompted those on social media to share a myriad of quotes attributed to the author, though not always accurately.

In this case, the alleged quote is actually a poem called “The Fur,” written by Thomas. He originally published the poem anonymously on his blog in 2007, but later included it in the poetry collection “I Wrote This For You” under his real name. The quote has since been falsely attributed to Vonnegut, despite Thomas’ attempts to set the record straight.

“At some point, somewhere on the internet, someone who I have no doubt really liked the quote, decided that it needed to have been said by someone more important and with a touch more gravitas than some, still living, semi-anonymous blogger somewhere,” Thomas wrote in a 2016 article for HuffPost. “So they picked Kurt Vonnegut.”

“I’m sorry for Thomas, particularly because he’s gone to such lengths to correct the record,” Thomas Hertweck, co-vice president of the Kurt Vonnegut Society and lecturer at the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth, told The Daily Caller in an email. “This sort of thing happens all the time, especially since Vonnegut died.”

Besides Hertweck, Julia Whitehead, founder and CEO of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, and the museum’s curator, Chris Lafave, also confirmed that Vonnegut did not pen this quote.

“This quote has been misattributed to Vonnegut for some time, and while there is currently no permanent archive of everything Kurt ever said, it has never appeared in anything published or archived,” Lafave told the Caller in an email.

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Aislinn Murphy

Assistant Managing Editor