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In Ben Lerner’s essay The Hatred of Poetry, he directly addresses the mass hatred of the genre. He even admits that he “too, dislike[s] it.” He is beginning to seek how poetry shifts itself between the personal and the abstract. He also suggests that the reason that so many hate poetry is because words will always fail. When a poet chooses to write between the personal and the abstract, the poet is going to fail each time. Lerner specifically shows examples of poets who have failed. He does a thorough in-depth analysis of several poems, expressing how each poem has failed multiple times. He begins with the men who first showed hatred to poetry, Plato and Sydney. Lerner eventually shows the analysis of different poets and their personal failure for words in both great poems, as well as bad.

He begins with this idea of the hatred of poetry to begin his defense of the arts overall. This essay appears to be focusing on the hatred of poetry when he breaks down the hatred into the personal, history, and analysis. However, this turns out to be only one aspect to his argument.  Lerner is using this to show that “No art has been denounced as much as poetry,” suggesting that art is denounced as a whole, but poetry is significantly bad.

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