Rancorous Old Sod

Colin Burrow

  • BuyBroken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012 by Geoffrey Hill
    Oxford, 973 pp, £35.00, November 2013, ISBN 978 0 19 960589 7

Not everyone likes Geoffrey Hill. There have been tedious arguments about his ‘difficulty’, about whether that difficulty has become hermetic obscurity in his later work, about his politics, and about whether the large quantity of verse he’s written in his sixties, seventies and eighties is as good as the relatively small number of poems he wrote in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The asymmetrical volume of his output is one of the more obviously remarkable things about this remarkable collection: poems published between 1959 and 1995 occupy only about 150 of its 940 pages, while the work of Hill’s later years fills the remaining five-sixths of the book.

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