The Hatred of Poetry

The Hatred of Poetry

Book - 2016
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"No art has been denounced as often as poetry. It's even bemoaned by poets: "I, too, dislike it," wrote Marianne Moore. "Many more people agree they hate poetry," Ben Lerner writes, "than can agree what poetry is. I, too, dislike it and have largely organized my life around it and do not experience that as a contradiction because poetry and the hatred of poetry are inextricable in ways it is my purpose to explore."In this inventive and lucid essay, Lerner takes the hatred of poetry as the starting point of his defense of the art. He examines poetry's greatest haters (beginning with Plato's famous claim that an ideal city had no place for poets, who would only corrupt and mislead the young) and both its greatest and worst practitioners, providing inspired close readings of Keats, Dickinson, McGonagall, Whitman, and others. Throughout, he attempts to explain the noble failure at the heart of every truly great and truly horrible poem: the impulse to launch the experience of an individual into a timeless communal existence. In The Hatred of Poetry, Lerner has crafted an entertaining, personal, and entirely original examination of a vocation no less essential for being impossible"-- Provided by publisher
"The novelist and poet Ben Lerner argues that our hatred of poetry is ultimately a sign of its nagging relevance"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : FSG Originals, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780865478206
Characteristics: 86 pages ; 19 cm


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Apr 16, 2018

For the sort of book that it is, its very good: thoughtful and leaving the reading thinking and wanting more. The first half is especially insightful; the third quarter of the essay, dealing with some topics in American poetry was odd and could have edited out; and the last part was insightful and forceful with the characterization of poetry.

Jan 05, 2017

This was a fascinating read. Somehow I'd thought I was getting a poetry collection by Ben Lerner (why doesn't the library have one?!) - instead I cracked this and discovered a thoughtful, intelligent, meaty essay on poetry. Totally absorbing and real brain food. Loved it. Gave an excellent perspective on poetry that made sense to me - though I wouldn't say that I, too, dislike it...! (although some poetry I definitely do dislike - but not poetry in general - and there are poems I love. But Lerner makes some excellent points about how society approaches poets and poetry - and a good argument for why it can never succeed - but also why poets will/should always continue to try)

Sep 14, 2016

Interesting and quick read. Would be much better though if written by somebody with an actual love and appreciation for his own craft. This is not necessarily a book explaining and breaking down why so many people hate poetry, but instead more a book about why the author, a poet himself, hates poetry. It doesn't get at the actual issue and topic here, which would be much more interesting.


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