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Geoffrey Hill and his Contexts

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Edited By Piers Pennington and Matthew Sperling

Geoffrey Hill is one of the most significant poets currently at work in the English language. The essays gathered in this book present a number of new contexts in which to explore a wide range of his writings, from the poems he wrote as an undergraduate to the recent volumes A Treatise of Civil Power (2007) and Collected Critical Writings (2008). Connections are made between the early and the later poetry, and between the poetry and the criticism, and archival materials are considered along with the published texts. The essays also make comparisons across disciplines, discussing Hill’s work in relation to theology, philosophy and intellectual history, to literature from other languages, and to the other arts. In doing so, they cast fresh light upon Hill’s dense, original and sometimes challenging writings, opening them up in new ways for all readers of his work.

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Geof frey Hill - from Odi Barbare, XXI–XXIII 227

Extract

geoffrey hill from Odi Barbare XXI Land of Logic self of illogic later Nor become sated with a bane of stricture Origen unmanned and the robot surgeon Twisting his lasers All in all V Mary did not enjoy great Gabriel although the tall wings inspired her Welch ein gruss ist das as a quantum made in Time her condition Begging still her pardon I here accept all Necessary mysteries barring one sleight Which I will not stomach | in that it beggars Matrix of substance How to brand postures so to speak unfearful Nothing burneth there but self will says Boehme Dante yet names Brutus Iscariot hell’s Fecal impaction: What would be judgement that could home on mercy Such the free topoi absolution’s finis Interplanetary Averroism Stalls for the uplift Reconcile these failures to find assumption Sacrifice won selfhood to that which makes us Total strangers think they are in our prayers Can you believe it 228 geoffrey hill XXII Time’s remittance Linacre Lupset Starkey Commonweal censors not Utopians though Men of More’s circle woe my ploy of speaking What have you wrought me So to claim these shards of a formal vantage: Snapping back wind-warping the daf fodils f lame Whiteish new-drawn shreds of a grafted tenure Held to be forfeit Then let go Dorset the striated clif fs of Multicoloured sandstone and sand raw-weathered Pembrokeshire swaying on its rooted tide-wrack Still life-befathomed Anglian sea-beaches in winter strewn | bare Midland acres haunted by blighted elm-wraiths Woods yet thriving lapped in...

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