All the big name publications and all of the big name reviewers seem to be reviewing Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry. All of them. The latest big name publication to do so is The Atlantic. Here’s Adam Kirsch:
Why (Some) People Hate Poetry (October 2016)
“If you are an adult foolish enough to tell another adult that you are (still!) a poet,” [Lerner] writes, “they will often describe for you their falling away from poetry: I wrote it in high school; I dabbled in college. Almost never do they write it now.” For Lerner, this is more than mere politeness, an attempt to find some common ground with the poet. Rather, it is an unconscious tribute to the sway that the idea of poetry continues to exert over our collective imagination. “Most of us carry at least a weak sense of a correlation between poetry and human possibility,” he asserts. Thus, “if I have no interest in poetry or if I feel repelled by actual poems, either I am failing the social or the social is failing me.” Poetry is a gauge of our mutual connection. If we can’t speak the language of poetry, it is a sign that human communication has been blocked in a fundamental way. This feeling of failure is what explains why people tend to hate poetry, rather than simply being indifferent to it. Poetry is the site and source of disappointed hope.