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The hatred of poetry / Ben Lerner
Books | Farra, Straus and Giroux | 2016 | First edition.
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First edition.
86 pages ; 19 cm
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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 for me--and maybe for you--inextricable. 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, who famously claimed that an ideal city had no place for poets, who would only corrupt and mislead the youth) and both its finest greatest and its worst practitioners, providing inspired readings of Keats, Dickinson, Whitman, William McGonagall, Claudia Rankine, 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 communal existence across time."-- Back cover.
9780865478206 (paperback)
0865478201 (paperback)
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