#ihatepoetry— do you?


We’re back for the 2017 – 2018 school year, and we’re proud to announce a new program for Booker T. Washington Magnet High School Creative Writing and for our blog, newsprung: art & writing in the deep south: #ihatepoetry.

The subject was posited point-blank by Ben Lerner in his 2016 book,The Hatred of Poetry, and after its release in the summer, major American publications were asking in the fall, “Why Do (Some) People Hate Poetry?” and “Do People Hate Poetry?”

This has been a touchy subject for the literary community for a long time. In his 1953 criticism collection, Poetry and the Age, poet Randall Jarrell wrote about “The Obscurity of the Poet.” We might trace the modern roots of this bitter argument to Dana Gioia’s essay, “Can Poetry Matter?” which was published in The Atlantic in May 1991. Later, there was John Barr’s “American Poetry in the New Century,” published in Poetry in 2006, which proclaimed in its first sentence: “Poetry in the country is ready for something new.” That, in turn, was followed by DW Fenza’s “Who Keeps Killing Poetry?” which contained this retort: “Every few years, the experts decide that she is moribund, comatose, wounded, infected, deranged, or dead.”

This school year, students in the Creative Writing magnet are going to do some digging and explore that tough question. Considering the vibrancy of the Poetry Out Loud program, the proliferation of both print and online literary magazines, and the continuous growth of Creative Writing MFA programs, it begs askance: do people really hate poetry? 

If you feel like you’ve got something to say on the matter, or would just like to put in your two cents, let us know using the form below.