By Ann Hassan

Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech! (2000) encapsulates thousand years’ worthy of utterances in a symbolic act of remembrance and expression of melancholy for the present age, during which we discover “our minds and ears fouled via degraded public speech—by media hype, insipid sermons, hole political rhetoric, and the ritual misuse of words.” via one hundred twenty densely allusive stanzas—“As many because the days that have been | of SODOM”—the poem wrestles this from inside, battling hearth with hearth in an alchemical symbolic labour that transmutes the dross of corrupt and clichéd idiom right into a dynamic logopoeia that proves actual Hill’s continual declare: “genuinely tricky paintings is really democratic.” Such is the bizarre, ambivalently antagonistic place of poetry within the current global and hence the gap of our genuine connection to it: “Whatever unusual dating now we have with the poem, it isn't one in all leisure. it really is extra like being brushed earlier, or apart, by means of an alien being” (Hill). Befriending this estrangement, embracing it as a extra amicable brushing-up-against, Hassan’s Annotations supply an intensive and sufferer explication of Speech! Speech! that either clarifies and deepens the poem’s problems, illuminating its polyphonic language and careening discursive flow. The author’s strategy is instantaneously commentarial, descriptive, and narratorial, staying faithfully with the poem and following its advanced verbal and logical turns. The ebook generously offers, instead of direct interpretative incursion, a harder and efficient rfile of “the actual nature / of this fulfillment” (stanza 92), a capacious, open knowing of the textual content that might end up worthwhile to its current and destiny readers.

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Extra resources for Annotations to Geoffrey Hill's 'Speech! Speech!'

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109 27 GEOFFREY HILL’S SPEECH! SPEECH! ” 112 The opening stanza, with its obscure staccato dictum, “Erudition. Pain. ”, provides a great deal of information about the reasons for the poet’s need to speak. Speech! Speech! is described as a “great” and “unavoidable work”; to speak is unavoidable despite the recognition that “heroic verse” – epic narratives (such as Speech! ) commemorating legendary figures – in the current age (dominated as it is by the “PEOPLE”) is “a non-starter”. Despite the general “confusion” of the modern world, with its focus on instant gratification and “rapid exposure”, the poet must sound his “music”.

Com/geoffrey-hill-the-poet-inwinter/>. 97 24 INTRODUCTION And because I was not quick enough to understand the qualifications that Eliot himself would have entered, I acquired a far too extremist view of what seemed then a total incompatibility of the objective and the subjective, and I would have said the poem is achieved by the fullest possible objectification of individual subjectivity. 99 Hill is contemplatively confessional in stanza 11 (when the poet describes how he “clown-paints” his pyjamas with red pen while reflecting that he would like to “shuffle off alive”), and stanza 70 (when he describes approaching the town of Groton by train, looking out the window for a loved one but “without desire”).

At other times, the mark is used as an explicit articulation of caesura; examples can be found in stanza 110 (“unfixable fell-gusts | ratching”) and stanza 83 (“Even so | childish anger at the injustice of it”). Hill’s use of the verticule, therefore, reduces the potential for unintended readings: ambiguities are made explicit and have their existence formally sanctioned, as it were, by the poet; likewise, caesurae do not wait to be acknowledged by the attentive reader but are instead printed on the page.

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