Dec 4, 2007

Recent Poetry from Geoffrey Hill

Quick note: Geoffrey Hill has three new poems published in this month's edition of the New Criterion, if you would care to read them. Hill has been cited as one of our finest living poets by some writers and critics who have connections to Yvor Winters in one way, or to one degree, or another. Some people seem to think Hill a very fine poet who adheres admirably to literary principles that are in keeping with Winters's. I haven't been much impressed with Hill's work so far, despite all the accolades -- though I am willing to consider ANY case, short or long, for his work. The new poems are rather loosely constructed pieces, which I don't think would have much impressed Winters. They are nearly prosetic musing rather than poetry, in my judgment. Yet the second one, "Citations I," appears to be, upon several readings, to be stronger work. This poem strikingly explores one of the main ideas of classicism (a subject I discussed at length in my last post) and of Yvor Winters's and especially Donald Stanford's reformulations of the concept for modern times. Time is always short, and I don't have enough for a thorough critique of Hill's work right now. All observations are welcome, nonetheless. I am most interested in knowing the views of anyone whon thinks Hill has achieved anything truly great in poetry.

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