Poetry speaks more to the space between what is known and what is unknown, and to inhabit this almost mystical place requires the use of language in ways not strictly lucid. This all changes in HeavenSay the Religions, all Seven! Does one therefore become a sleeper or an eater or a reproducer or a snorer as a prime identifier? Our ability to write poems is therefore in some sense the measure of our humanity. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Whitman’s goal was to create a new American verse style. The university. "Earlier doth Sidney prosperThe Horse as alternatives concur--Preceding Plato's Gyges reference unfurledIn "Beauty faith and courage…""To have wished myself a horse"Bemuses as flesh, Homer’s brazen mirage,"Interlacing mère tales as Gyges," worsePersuaded at Pugliano's Riding SchoolBy the supreme Lippizaner breeding pool. The capacity to transcend history has historically been ascribed to white men of a certain class while denied to individuals marked by difference (whether of race or gender). Ben Lerner is an American poet, novelist, and critic. That said, I do think he reaches a rather beautiful and satisfying conclusion in the final few pages on the ultimate issue of whether to hate or love poetry. I loved both. that contemporary writers haven’t responded to the influence/language of popular culture (maybe he didn’t read any of the Ashbery he criticizes? But it’s really surprising—since Lerner’s poetry and his fiction have been lauded for their innovation—to discover that he builds his explanation of poetry’s abject fate around a creaky platform of neo-Platonic principles. Among other things this is a (no more than semiconscious) performance of the demands of poetry, at this point almost a muscle memory: the poem is a technology for mediating between me and my people; the poem must include me, must recognize me and be recognizable — so recognizable I should be able to recall it without ever having seen it, like the face of God. Reading in my admittedly desultory way across the centuries, I have come to believe that a large part of the appeal of the defense as a genre is that it is itself a kind of virtual poetry — it allows you to describe the virtues of poetry without having to write poems that have succumbed to the bitterness of the actual. A lot of people, it seems, are interested in reading about why poetry is contemptible (it’s #1 on the Amazon sales list for poetry criticism). Lerner was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, which figures in each of his books of poetry. 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 inextricable in ways it is my purpose to explore.". Nor, surprisingly (given the title of his essay), does he show much interest in the gruesome wonderland of bad poems (emblems of the inability of even great poems to fulfill the ideal of “virtual poetry”). Did ANY of that actually make sense, or was he really, really drunk?" So long as economics are just so consistently, blatantly exploitive, and unfair to the many, it's tempting to go with orthodoxy and just put on the departmental blinders. Back to Plato, as we please,Pivoting from Homer to HerodotusUpon Gyges' mortal ring to discussTransmogrifying the horse of UlyssesCasted reified as a brazen imitation(Which he denigrates in Homer as quotidian"danger that the nerves of our guardiansbe rendered too excitable and effeminate by them. You're moved to write a poem, you feel called upon to sing, because of that transcendent impulse. So what of Plato's "justice" here?Agon for Greek to Turk be apostasy;Yet Calif's suzerain exists for all to see:Seventy-two exceeds four wives even there.Wherefore in Good God a woman's intelligenceHow Prophet trollop a nine-year oldConcubine (added to slave-girls in multitude)Trumps Khadijah in Woman's Sharia defense?Q'ran "peace" is deft for Man in cleft minkOf Houri and four wives for Ottoman suffice.But "In talking to his queens" Yeats thinkCommands how "Solomon grew wise. June 7th 2016 It wasn't in any way too academic or inaccessible, but it wasn't too simple or playful either - a fine balance. I have been troubled all of my life by the concept generally accepted socially as an identity, usually tied to the way one makes a living. To see what your friends thought of this book. Which it was, I liked it a lot. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Born: Benjamin S. Lerner February 4, 1979 (age 41) Topeka, Kansas: Nationality: United States: Alma mater: Brown University: Genre : Poetry, novels, essays: Notable awards: Guggenheim Fellowship; Believer Book Award; MacArthur Fellowship: Benjamin S. Lerner (born February 4, 1979) is an American poet, novelist, essayist, and critic. He praises Sylvia Plath, for instance, but note how her work — singled out as an example of the ambitious writing we currently lack — turns out only to speak for women: Edmundson apparently cannot imagine a father reading the poem and feeling challenged. Whatever we think of particular poems, “poetry” is a word for the meeting place of the private and the public, the internal and the external; my capacity to express myself poetically and to comprehend such expressions is a fundamental qualification for social recognition. Lerner makes good points, mainly elaborating on Grossman's idea that poetry always falls short of its ideal. This article made me think of what Dana Gioia wrote in his essay "Notes Towards a New Bohemia": "How can there be an avant-garde without a mainstream?". Poetry makes you famous without an audience, an abstract or kind of proto-fame: it is less that I am known in the broader community than that I know I could be known, less that you know my name than that I know that I am named: I am a poet / and you know it.). Typical poets, short story writers, memoirists, screen writers all trade their time at Good Old Corporate U for terribly-paid jobs as adjuncts. Well, how dare he or she? In my experience, no, they wrote poems of self-help challenges or poems of escapism into art and foreign climes where they'd been. What makes Walt Whitman so powerful and powerfully embarrassing a founding figure for American poetry is that he is explicit about the contradictions inherent in the effort to “inhabit all.” This is also what makes it so silly to imply Whitman’s poetic ideal was ever accomplished in the past and that we’ve since declined — because of identity politics — into avoidable fractiousness. Edmundson makes a few silly claims, e.g. wild, Terrific book in which the author, an award-winning poet, goes deep and with candor into the difficulties and shortcomings of poetry, both canonical and contemporary (though disappointingly, and perhaps tellingly, Lerner says almost nothing about his own poems). Exchanges of this sort strike me as significant because I feel they are contemporary descendants, however diminished, of those founding dialogues about poetry that have set, however shakily, the terms for most denunciations and defenses in the West. But his likeable, funny, intelligent grasp of all things (ranging from Poetical Dentists to Keats to the rollerskating aisle patrollers of The Topeka Hypermart) was imp. At least that’s what we were taught in Topeka: we all have feelings inside us (where are they located, exactly? And Dr. X was right: there is no genuine poetry; there is only, after all, and at best, a place for it. 's view of God-as-Just.The 7th Century A.D. Q'ran in similar viewImproves the appetites of Allah's ProphetIncluding any man's wife with whom to doAs please as well as with a moppet.The militarily invisible lightning droneMust therefore suicide bombers stone. I'm having such a hard time understanding poetry, especially lately (and especially contemporary Bulgarian poetry but that's a whole other topic). Really enjoyed this: like having a late night conversation with an incredibly smart friend who makes you feel cleverer too. The book loses a bit of its conceit as it goes (by the time we are talking about Rankine's CITIZEN, there is virtually none of the original thesis left), so it has to be evaluated on the basis of the vignettes. It’s as if to say: Everybody can write a poem, but has your poetry, the distillation of your innermost being, been found authentic and intelligible by others? One has the right to say he dislikes a novel, hates a movie, or disagrees with a study or essay. "Many more people agree they hate poetry," Ben Lerner writes, "than can agree what poetry is. Getting paid for one of those things, perhaps? It will frustrate everyone, its authors perhaps most of all. I always find Ben Lerner's writing fascinating. Poetry speaks more to the space between what is known and what is unknown, and to inhabit this almost my. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published One difference between Plato’s Socrates and Dr. X is that Socrates fears and resents the corrupting power of actual poetic performance — he thinks poets are going to excite excessive emotions, for instance — whereas Dr. X presumably fears and resents his inability to be moved by or comprehend what passes for a poem.
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