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The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin

por Geoffrey Hill

Outros autores: Kenneth Haynes (Editor)

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At his death in 2016, Geoffrey Hill left behind The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin, his last work, a sequence of more than 270 poems, to be published posthumously as his final statement. Written in long lines of variable length, with much off-rhyme and internal rhyme, the verse-form of the book stands at the opposite end from the ones developed in the late Daybooks of Broken Hierarchies (2013), where he explored highly taut constructions such as Sapphic meter, figure-poems, fixed rhyming strophes, and others. The looser metrical plan of the new book admits an enormous range of tones of voices. Thematically, the work is a summa of a lifetime's meditation on the nature of poetry. A riot of similes about the poetic art makes a passionate claim for the enduring strangeness of poetry in the midst of its evident helplessness. The relation between art and spirituality is another connecting thread. In antiquity, Justin's gnostic Book of Baruch was identified as the 'worst of heresies,' and the use of it in Hill's poem, as well as the references to alchemy, heterodox theological speculation, and the formal logics of mathematics, music, and philosophy are made coolly, as art and as emblems for our inadequate and perplexed grasp of time, fate, and eternity. A final set of themes is autobiographical, including Hill's childhood, the bombing of London, his late trip to Germany, his alarm and anger at Brexit, and his sense of decline and of death close at hand. It is a great work, and in Hill's oeuvre it is a uniquely welcoming work, open to all comers.… (mais)

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For Hill, books are made out of books. “You’ve always been a name dropper,” he says to himself. But here, as he approaches the end of life, I argue he invokes and wrestles with his predecessors not to hold the reader at arm’s length as he might have in his earlier work, but to invite the reader in: “My diction having metastasized into the cheerily odd, I doodle with a tattooist’s needle several things I would once not have said, let alone addressed on parade.” As he wrestles with the past poets, playwrights, and painters, Hill shows the reader the poetic tradition is not fixed, that it demands interpretation, and, more, that all interpretation is reinterpretation. “By gnosis I mean both what it ought to have been and what it is, to tell the truth,” he says.
adicionada por eereed | editarEarth & Altar, E.E. Reed (Jun 26, 2020)
 
The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin is not easy going, but should prove surprisingly rewarding even for the casual reader (who doesn't mind being baffled by much that s/he comes across). The near-aphoristic nature of so much of this -- line after line, in places -- keeps the individual pieces, and the book as a whole, from getting bogged down, while the connections are fairly clearly built up and structured, step-by-step (albeit including far-flung digressions left and right). The texts then also allow for multiple levels of reading -- however far the reader wants to research and look up -- though it may prove to be a near-infinite well; certainly the doctoral dissertation that annotates the text will be many times this volume's size.
adicionada por eereed | editarThe Complete Review, M.A. Orthofer (Sep 14, 2019)
 
The reader will note the internal rhymes here and there clanging like funeral bells. The language remains pained and elusive, twitchy and self-flagellating. There are many reasons not to read this overheated book, the longwinded ramble and leaden rant interrupted at every pass; but such reasons are nothing compared to the privilege of spending a few hours in company with one of the great poetic minds of the past century.
adicionada por eereed | editarThe New Criterion, William Logan (Jun 1, 2019)
 
Every word here is charged, potent, lapidary. But then this was always the case with Hill
adicionada por eereed | editarThe Spectator, Nick Lezard (May 19, 2019)
 
The Book of Baruch is a work of the sovereign imagination in a state of radical alienation, to put it in Hillian terms, and all the better for its soiling at the hands of a fallen and imperfect world.
adicionada por eereed | editarThe Guardian, David Wheatley (May 3, 2019)
 

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Haynes, KennethEditorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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At his death in 2016, Geoffrey Hill left behind The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin, his last work, a sequence of more than 270 poems, to be published posthumously as his final statement. Written in long lines of variable length, with much off-rhyme and internal rhyme, the verse-form of the book stands at the opposite end from the ones developed in the late Daybooks of Broken Hierarchies (2013), where he explored highly taut constructions such as Sapphic meter, figure-poems, fixed rhyming strophes, and others. The looser metrical plan of the new book admits an enormous range of tones of voices. Thematically, the work is a summa of a lifetime's meditation on the nature of poetry. A riot of similes about the poetic art makes a passionate claim for the enduring strangeness of poetry in the midst of its evident helplessness. The relation between art and spirituality is another connecting thread. In antiquity, Justin's gnostic Book of Baruch was identified as the 'worst of heresies,' and the use of it in Hill's poem, as well as the references to alchemy, heterodox theological speculation, and the formal logics of mathematics, music, and philosophy are made coolly, as art and as emblems for our inadequate and perplexed grasp of time, fate, and eternity. A final set of themes is autobiographical, including Hill's childhood, the bombing of London, his late trip to Germany, his alarm and anger at Brexit, and his sense of decline and of death close at hand. It is a great work, and in Hill's oeuvre it is a uniquely welcoming work, open to all comers.

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