By Ann Hassan
Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech! (2000) encapsulates thousand years’ worthy of utterances in a symbolic act of remembrance and expression of depression 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 situation from inside of, combating hearth with fireplace 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 tough artwork is actually democratic.” Such is the bizarre, ambivalently adversarial place of poetry within the current international and hence the gap of our actual connection to it: “Whatever unusual dating we've got with the poem, it's not one in all amusement. 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 offer an intensive and sufferer explication of Speech! Speech! that either clarifies and deepens the poem’s problems, illuminating its polyphonic language and careening discursive move. The author’s procedure is right away 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 precise nature / of this fulfillment” (stanza 92), a capacious, open knowing of the textual content that would end up beneficial to its current and destiny readers. punctumbooks.com
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Additional resources for Annotations to Geoffrey Hill's 'Speech! Speech!'
The Long-Cherished Anger of Geoffrey Hill’. 98 John Drexel, ‘Geoffrey Hill: The Poet in Winter’, review of The Orchards of Syon, Contemporary Poetry Review, 7 Apr. 2003 (accessed 9 Aug. 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.
They also make an implicit argument about the democracy of difficult poetry: if Hill’s poem flatters rather than insults its readers with its detail of reference, if its difficulty is sited in its myriad references and rebarbative surface but not in any fundamental inaccessibility, if the text itself is not made up of disconnected fragments but forms rather a sequence of verses (albeit one which leads “NEMO” to “A COMA”), then Hill has succeeded in his effort to make democratic poetry, or, equally, poetry democratic.
122 The resulting verse is, for Hart, “slack”; 123 119 Kevin Hart, ‘“it / is true”’, 85. R. K. Meiners, ‘“Upon the Slippery Place”; or, In the Shit: Geoffrey Hill’s Writing and the Failures of Postmodern Memory’, Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and Criticism, ed. James Acheson and Romana Huk (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996), 238. 121 Kevin Hart, ‘Up and Dówn the | Hill’, 161 122 Kevin Hart, ‘Poetics and Power’, First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life (1 April 2008): 46-47.
Annotations to Geoffrey Hill's 'Speech! Speech!' by Ann Hassan