I do not like the provocative title. I don’t think it is particularly useful. Years ago, before I became a father, I read Lerner’s first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station (I have not read any of his poetry, or rather, any of his poetry collections; I have probably read one of his poems in a magazine), but Hatred is my first time returning to him.
The actual contents are much less provocative than the title and perhaps the publisher picked it, so let’s give him some benefit of the doubt.
He makes some nice points and has a very interesting analysis of Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. He has a great deal to say about implicit bias in poetry criticism that, while not new, is important to say.
But overall, the book is interesting rather than captivating and also meanders a bit, which increases the sense that the title wrote a figurative check that the copy can’t cover.