Speech! Speech! (Penguin Poetry)

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9780141006925: Speech! Speech! (Penguin Poetry)

With Daumier as his muse, Geoffrey Hill, "the best poet we have, assaults the emptiness of public discourse to which we have become accustomed."-- Evening Standard.

With our minds and ears fouled by degraded public speech--by media hype, insipid sermons, hollow political rhetoric, and the ritual misuse of words--how do we begin to think and speak honestly? At a time when our common language has been made false and ugly, how does the artist find words to communicate truth and beauty? These are the questions that Geoffrey Hill addresses in Speech! Speech!, a caustic, tragicomic tour de force that the London Guardian, naming it the poetry book of the year, called "magisterial--a classic of English poetry."

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About the Author:

Geoffrey Hill was born in 1932, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. His books include nine volumes of poetry and two previous collections of essays. Since 1988 he has lived in Massachusetts and taught at Boston University, where he is Professor of Literature and Religion and co-director of the Editorial Institute.

From Publishers Weekly:

England's most fearsome living poet, Hill (Canaan, etc.), who has been working out of Boston University of late, has long been admired for his moral and philosophical seriousness and for his densely worked, hyperallusive language. Laid out in 120 12-line sections, Hill's new book-length poem follows naturally from, and often resembles, his 1998 The Triumph of Love, which arranged European history, political theory, autobiography and glittering, fragmentary description into one powerful, challenging, mosaiclike book. This work, like that one, invokes literary masters and historical martyrs and denounces England's, Europe's, and America's tawdry, media-driven present, where "Cameo actors can make killings/ their legacies." Boasting a brassier, denser metric than Hill's previous work has used, Hill's terse declarations and haughty thrusts give many passages their strength; they can render other bits monotonous or too private to decode. Individual sections (especially toward the middle of the work) function as self-contained arguments and lamentsAthese are among the best parts: one remembers the World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg, while another considers the "caught-short trot-pace of early film." Though less compellingly narrative than Triumph, this is Hill's most personal book yet. (Nov.)
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