The theme of The Hatred of Poetry is: poetry inevitably disappoints by not living up to the writer’s and/or the reader’s expectation of Poetry’s ideal. This rings true with me. More so as a reader. We can’t read the writer’s mind. And without that context how are we (the reader) suppose to pull his deeper meaning out of it. Sure, we can find our own meaning but is that what the writer wants. I’ve written some poems. And maybe I was doing it wrong, but I wanted to share some deeper meanings and emotions using the language of poetry. It’s hard, probably impossible, and that is what Lerner is getting at. But we keep trying and keep getting disappointed as readers and writers. Lerner makes this point over and over again. The book gets dragged down by this. It’s interesting to see it illustrated by famous poets both old and new. If anything the problem is getting worse as poets struggle for a solution(s). Lerner goes all the way back to Plato to discuss Aesthetics. But I don’t see that as the problem. It’s the limitation of language and the limitations of space.. poems aren’t novels.
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