21. (Geoffrey Hill)

Excess curries parody. The late Hill has not been one to shun excesses: in output, in rhetorical posturing, in allusiveness, in crabbed, barbed reactionary vehemence, in puns and quibbles, in self-aware asides. As if excess, shifted to a higher gear than we knew existed, might speed away from parody (and self-parody) yet—all the while savoring the guttural roar at its heels. Come closer, Hill’s late … Continue reading 21. (Geoffrey Hill)

11. (Geoffrey Hill)

Not newly appearing in the new Collected Poems, the poem there that nonetheless surprised me most—-thumbed over, by chance, on the way to the title poem, “Broken Hierarchies,” also not newly appearing—-is “In  Memoriam: Gillian Rose,” first collected in A Treatise of Civil Power, in 2007. Hill has made only two small revisions–I’m inclined to call them corrections–to the poem: in the ninth section, the second line: … Continue reading 11. (Geoffrey Hill)

9. (Yvor Winters)

Pierre Bourdieu, in a passage from Distinction, gets a few things slightly wrong but one thing immensely right: To be able to play the games of culture with the playful seriousness which Plato demanded, a seriousness without the “spirit of seriousness”, one has to belong to the ranks of those who have been able, not necessarily to make their whole existence a sort of children’s game, … Continue reading 9. (Yvor Winters)

8. (Robert Browning)

Bagehot, a man in the know, confides to his readership: “One of his greatest admirers once owned to us that he seldom or never began a new poem without looking on in advance, and foreseeing with caution what length of intellectual advance he was about to commence.” Does any other major poet have a posse of admirers so willing, even eager, to exonerate admiration by … Continue reading 8. (Robert Browning)