Hill’s Excess

The Orchards of Syon echos with the theme ‘life is a dream’ but as Rowan Williams observes (Geoffrey Hill: Essays on His Later Work 68), ‘Poesis is what makes the dream other than death, not just a repetition …’

I see in section XXXVI, an emergence of form that, more than bring ‘other than death’ testifies to the presence of ‘form’ itself. The large generic pattern of lyric’s unfoldment—- from the opening determination (the first line) through various qualifying descriptions of the equivocal time/space givens, to the moment I call metaxyturn (note the reference to Celan), and the ensuing reflexivities and confessions. The unfoldment of this sequence brings us to a standstill (tautology has its role in the hovering aporia). In this case, the sense of agapeic (Hell is empty) fuses the personal and the universal in a moment of that remains open to eschatological thought/dream. Return to beginning. The congestion typical of Hill’s late style is dialectic, the grammar of kenotic selving that concludes in festive plurivocity.


Doubleness of Poetics: Theory and Practice

From Wittgenstein On Certainty


Regarding ‘loop holes’ in theory —- say we are talking about the volta in sonnets and fail to mention a change of ‘tone’ or perspective. Since there are always areas untouched by some discussions of rules, assuming the doubleness should be part of the game of poetics. What is missing from our discussion of the rules is covered by our examples. The relevant rules are IN the examples. The big takeaway is that poetics proceeds dialectically ‘between’ rules and examples. Poetics is inherently dialogical. To speak metaxically, poetics is double. It happens BETWEEN rules and examples.