Do people hate poetry, as the title of Ben Lerner's terrific book-sized essay implies? In Lerner's account, poetry is associated with hatred and contempt, even by its practitioners, because of the gap between the ideal, imagined poem and the real productions of poets; between 'Poetry' and the embarrassing existence of actual poems. Between these two poles we find poets, and those who, along with Plato, would banish poetry from the ideal Republic.
David McCooey reviews 'The Hatred of Poetry' by Ben Lerner
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David McCooey is a prize-winning poet and critic. His latest collection of poems, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature's 'Best Writing Award'. His first collection, Blister Pack (2005), won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four major national literary awards. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). His album of 'poetry soundtracks', Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of literature and writing at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives. His forthcoming poetry collection, Star Struck, will be published in late 2016 by UWA Publishing. His website is: www.davidmccooey.com
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