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Download Annotations to Geoffrey Hill's 'Speech! Speech!' by Ann Hassan PDF

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 by way of degraded public speech—by media hype, insipid sermons, hole political rhetoric, and the ritual misuse of words.” via a hundred and twenty densely allusive stanzas—“As many because the days that have been | of SODOM”—the poem wrestles this situation from inside of, scuffling with fireplace with fireplace in an alchemical symbolic labour that transmutes the dross of corrupt and clichéd idiom right into a dynamic logopoeia that proves real Hill’s chronic declare: “genuinely tough paintings is really democratic.” Such is the bizarre, ambivalently adversarial place of poetry within the current international and therefore the distance of our genuine connection to it: “Whatever unusual dating we now have with the poem, it isn't certainly one of amusement. it really is extra like being brushed prior, 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 technique is immediately commentarial, descriptive, and narratorial, staying faithfully with the poem and following its advanced verbal and logical turns. The booklet generously offers, instead of direct interpretative incursion, a harder and effective record of “the actual nature / of this fulfillment” (stanza 92), a capacious, open realizing of the textual content that might turn out valuable to its current and destiny readers.

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

Example text

One reading of Speech! Speech! frames it a 157 158 ‘Geoffrey Hill’s Finishing Lines’, 157. Serious Poetry, 198. 41 GEOFFREY HILL’S SPEECH! SPEECH! directionless collection of abbreviated sonnets united only by their apocalyptic tendencies and the (often oblique) recurrence of images and references, located around an ill-defined topos of Sodom. Even its opening, the staccato dictum, “Erudition. Pain. ”, is more revelatory than its final line: “AMOR. MAN IN A COMA. MA’AM. NEMO. ” I contend that while it is true that the poem suggests more a “Shambles of peripeteia” (stanza 119) than a linear narrative, and more a “self-centre of anomie” (stanza 87) than an example of thematic development, its author has nevertheless taken care to build into it the beginning, middle and end which hint at conventional narrative development.

Likewise, “dó you” is both a rhetorical question and a direct challenge to the reader.

Speech! In stanza 37, he describes The Sun as a newspaper which “condescends ... daily” to its readers, while in stanza 99 the “AUTHENTIC SELF” – the locus of the faux-egalitarian artistic voice – is dismissed as “a stinker”. Hill is at his most explicit in the final stanzas of the poem when he writes that the public endures the “ACCESSIBLE / traded as DEMOCRATIC” (stanza 118). These are forthright expositions; he also makes other, more subtle arguments. Hill’s repeated interrogation in Speech!

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