Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

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David
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Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by David » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:38 am

FIRST TENTATIVE, PERHAPS MISGUIDED EXPANSION

Perhaps he is vindicated, stands among
the panoply of Faith Triumphant, while
they pipe 'the unexpressive nuptiall Song'
to every blessèd corner of the hall,

and waits till he is called to go before
the throne to be interpreted by God,
in Whom obscurities of language are
translated to one irreducible Word.

ORIGINAL

Perhaps he is vindicated, stands before
the throne to be interpreted by God,
in Whom obscurities of language are
translated to one irreducible Word.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Thinking about Geofrrey Hill

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:37 am

Is that a typo on Geoffrey, David? You've got me thinking.

I've read some of Geoffrey Hill, but not nearly enough. He was widely revered, was he not?

This short piece seems to point at some of his more inaccessible pieces but
I feel I'm missing something. I like that 'irreducible word'. Can I borrow it? :)

I lifted this from the Poetry Foundation. Is this what you're getting at?

"Critics accused Hill of unearned grandiosity, of being deliberately difficult, of being 'inaccessible."

Short and sweet. I always want more, though.

Best

JJ

PS Are you referencing Game of Thrones, by any chance?

J
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Re: Thinking about Geofrrey Hill

Post by Ros » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:37 pm

Like. I'm puzzling a little about whether the Word is just the Word, as in 'in the beginning was the Word', or whether we should read it as a different word. Or Word.

Ros
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ray miller
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Re: Thinking about Geofrrey Hill

Post by ray miller » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:55 pm

Too easily understood, by half.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Thinking about Geofrrey Hill

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:41 pm

:lol: :lol:

Got it.

No need to borrow that word, I claimed it decades ago. :)

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Re: Thinking about Geofrrey Hill

Post by David » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:56 pm

JJWilliamson wrote:Is that a typo on Geoffrey, David? You've got me thinking.

PS Are you referencing Game of Thrones, by any chance?
Yikes. Bit of a shocker that, JJ. I'll put it right. (No. not thinking of Joffrey! Odious little nurk that he was.)

I'll leave it there for now, if I may. I want to see France v Iceland. Of course I may come back later when France are 3-0 up.

Cheers

David

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by David » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:34 am

David wrote:I'll leave it there for now, if I may. I want to see France v Iceland. Of course I may come back later when France are 3-0 up.
Wow. I'm not usually that accurate in my predictions.

Are we both thinking of the right word? There is "that" possibility, of course, but not only that one. I did Capitalise it, after all. (This is, I would say, a rather po-faced poem. That's by no means a good thing, I know.)
ray miller wrote:Too easily understood, by half.
Ah, that's me, Ray. I'm an open book.

Ros, see above re "Word" (or "word"). By the way, I only recently realised where your little motto comes from.

Cheers all

David

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:47 am

No, I wasn't thinking about that Word, or perhaps I was, more the word. I've just revised my word out of a poem. You have my word on that.

Mum's the word

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by Ros » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:23 am

David wrote:
David wrote:
Are we both thinking of the right word? There is "that" possibility, of course, but not only that one. I did Capitalise it, after all. (This is, I would say, a rather po-faced poem. That's by no means a good thing, I know.)
ray miller wrote:Too easily understood, by half.
Ah, that's me, Ray. I'm an open book.

David
Ah, now I'm lost. Either it's the Word, or it's a word I'm not getting. I could ask Ray, I suppose.
David wrote:
By the way, I only recently realised where your little motto comes from.

David
One of my favourite films. (OK, I know it's a play, really).

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by David » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:20 am

Ah well, the Word - in a John-ish (Johannine?) sense - is what I was thinking of, but Seth pointed out (elsewhere) that uncapitalising the word (literally) would have a very different effect. But that's not really what I want to do.

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:51 pm

David wrote:Ah well, the Word - in a John-ish (Johannine?) sense - is what I was thinking of, but Seth pointed out (elsewhere) that uncapitalising the word (literally) would have a very different effect. But that's not really what I want to do.
I would never have got that, David. Hat's off to Ray and Seth for their penetrating insights.

Is this an allusion to religion, philosophy and history through his Mercian comparisons with the ruler, Offa, of the Dyke variety? It terminates in Flintshire, I think.
Are you thinking about his "difficult" style? It's been a long time since I studied scripture.

Maybe not, maybe not. Interesting though.

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by Ros » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:01 pm

David wrote:Ah well, the Word - in a John-ish (Johannine?) sense - is what I was thinking of, but Seth pointed out (elsewhere) that uncapitalising the word (literally) would have a very different effect. But that's not really what I want to do.
I thought about it, uncapitalized, but couldn't come up with one definitive word that might be meant.
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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by David » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:13 pm

Ros wrote:I thought about it, uncapitalized, but couldn't come up with one definitive word that might be meant.
It's quite possible we're all thinking about different words. The one I thought of was extremely disobliging.

I have an expanded version.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:15 pm

After Ray's reply, I thought the word was crap/shite/shit, or something. Hence my thoughts about his "difficult style".

Seems irreducible to me.

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by Firebird » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:41 pm

Could this be the word Borges talks of: 'We all furnish a word to the poem'?

Interesting idea. Though i too would have preferred it a little more opaque.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by k-j » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:39 pm

I can't decide which version is better. They're both good. Although I don't think the longer one adds anything essential. Line 5 is filler. And not keen on "blessèd". So actually I prefer the original.
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Re: Thinking about Geoffrey Hill

Post by Basnik » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:44 am

Hi David,

I like this very much - the longer version for me. Hill's essays on poetry from his days of Oxford professorship are very interesting about language and religion. Vindicate comes from a sense of avenging and claiming, which I think is appropriate for Hill.

Best wishes,
Richard
bez prace, nejsou kolaci - without work, there are no cakes (Czech proverb)

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