on ‘The Hatred of Poetry’

08BOOK-master675-v2Jeff Gordinier at The NY Times:

“Many more people agree they hate poetry than can agree what poetry is,” he writes. “I, too, dislike it, and have largely organized my life around it (albeit with far less discipline and skill than Marianne Moore) and do not experience that as a contradiction because poetry and the hatred of poetry are for me — and maybe for you — inextricable.”

Mr. Lerner’s own poetry, like his fiction, has a habit of floating off in directions that the reader does not anticipate. “The Hatred of Poetry” expands on that signature move. After establishing that poetry is a magnet for scorn, Mr. Lerner does not do what you might expect. He does not go all Garrison Keillor and mount a passionate defense. He does not raise a frothy toast to the glorious music of verse. He does not say, “I realize that you hate poetry, dear reader, but I’m going to make you fall in love with it.”

Instead, he devotes the lion’s share of this pocket volume to exploring some of the ways that poetry has bothered and disappointed various factions, starting with Plato and passing through the countless magazine essayists who have, with tedious regularity over the decades, gnawed on the old thematic bone of “the death of poetry.”

more here.