By Henry Hart
The development of Geoffrey Hill's verse over 30years is like the topography of his homeground in the West Midlands of England. There are hills and valleys but no wholly unexpected shifts of contour.
Henry Hart has completed the first comprehensive mapping of this new poetic landscape and finds Hill a deeply traditional poet capable of writing in a variety of forms, but also one who used his superior skills to debate tradition.
Hart begins the discussion of Hill's work with selections written during his Oxford days in the early 1950s . The poet's themes of passion, crisis, and the struggle toward perception and control were then finding their early focus in the quest for intense vision and right judgment.
The post-Oxford works- For the Un-fallen, King Log, Mercian Hymns, and Tenebrae- alongwith Hill's most recent poem, The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Peguy, all display verbal power, skill with forms, and sensuously and metaphysically informed intelligence.