Treatise of Civil Power


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Geoffrey Hill has long been a troubled figure but his latest verse shows signs of peace

Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.

"Raw with late wisdom”: Geoffrey Hill’s A Treatise of Civil Power

We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review 's Review :. The title of Geoffrey Hill's collection -- taken from a Miltonic pamphlet -- sounds both unpoetic a treatise! In the broader senses -- the ones Hill certainly means -- these poems certainly are political, and the focus on 'civic power' rather than, say, democracy also gives some insight into Hill's own perspective and priorities.

The vigor and energy of the writing stands in some contrast to the occasional expressions of weakness, but it's more a fear of faltering than an actual collapse: these are less old-man poems than in some of his recent collections, though that pre-occupation "this is our last call, difficult coda" hovers in much of the background.

So also in the not quite final 'Coda' the placing of two bits after it -- even be they only a fragment and a 'Nachwort' -- suggesting a refusal to admit to the finality of a final word , which he closes admitting to the limitations of mortality-thoughts: I fear to wander in unbroken darkness even with those I love.

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I know that sounds a damn-fool thing to say. As always, the language is striking, even when he reaches "lyric mojo"? Much of the focus seems on another time -- Herrick, Cromwell, Milton, Burke, et al.

The more modern subject-matter -- for example: a poem about 50 years of the Federal Republic of Germany, in memoriams for Ernst Barlach and Aleksander Wat -- make for a slightly odd, more contemporary reference point. Hope you will like it and give your comments and suggestions.


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A Treatise of Civil Power: Text

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