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A Treatise of Civil Power

por Geoffrey Hill

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Geoffrey Hill's latest collection takes its title from a pamphlet by Milton of 1659 that attacks the concept of a state church as well as corruption in church governance. As Milton figures prominently here, so too must the Lord Protector, Cromwell, addressed in a memorable sonnet sequence. Also considered by Hill are other poets to whom he nods in gratitude, not just Milton and "my god" Ben Jonson, or Robert Herrick, or William Blake, but also Robert Lowell and, perhaps most interestingly, John Berryman, whose Dream Songs haunts this present collection. Here we again confront the poet's familiar obsessions--language, governance, war, politics, the contemporary and classical worlds, and the nature of poetry itself. John Hollander writes of Hill's poems that they immerse themselves "in the matters of stones and rock, of permanence and historical change, martyrdoms and mockeries, and above all history and the monuments and residua of its consequences in places, things, and persons." A Treatise of Civil Power is the work of a major poet at the height of his powers.  … (mais)

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A very slender percentage of poetry readers will be drawn to a book with this title. Not only will it put off the chamomile tea set, it will probably also put off the experimenters. Nothing quite like a modernist naming his collection after a seventeenth century prose pamphlet by Milton to get the cash registers ringing.

In any case, this is probably a bit easier on the brain than some of Hill's other work, at least on the first read through, since there are fairly obvious concrete referents for each poem. I regret, as I always do, the older poet's tendency to start writing In Memoriam poems. I understand the urge. If I have to read a memorial poem, Gillian Rose is a worthy subject. I just wish the urge to commemorate could be separated from the urge to publish.

Otherwise, the usual mixture of remarkable sounds, intimidating erudition (which lets mere mortals like you or me learn new words, always fun: debridement, slub, fettled, glowery--still don't know what it means, scarped, puddler, skirling) and worthy thought.

Completely random examples:

"Sibylline interdicts spells blunder - resign! -
though resignation itself proclaims the finder"

Do I know what this means? No. Do I care? No.

"a full pavane of the elect"

Wonderful.

"Jonson also was excellent on work
within his mansions of erected wit.
For him it was defiance of the mob"

I like Jonson even more.

"Before you can say Quid or Obtuse Angle
or Mrs Nanicantipot, the milk tooth
hangs from the door-knob by its cotton thread.
Terror is opportune as is relief from terror."

Handel's Op 6, "each of itself a treatise of civil power/ every phrase instinct with deliberation/ both upon power and towards civility."

This is obviously not for everyone. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
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Geoffrey Hill's latest collection takes its title from a pamphlet by Milton of 1659 that attacks the concept of a state church as well as corruption in church governance. As Milton figures prominently here, so too must the Lord Protector, Cromwell, addressed in a memorable sonnet sequence. Also considered by Hill are other poets to whom he nods in gratitude, not just Milton and "my god" Ben Jonson, or Robert Herrick, or William Blake, but also Robert Lowell and, perhaps most interestingly, John Berryman, whose Dream Songs haunts this present collection. Here we again confront the poet's familiar obsessions--language, governance, war, politics, the contemporary and classical worlds, and the nature of poetry itself. John Hollander writes of Hill's poems that they immerse themselves "in the matters of stones and rock, of permanence and historical change, martyrdoms and mockeries, and above all history and the monuments and residua of its consequences in places, things, and persons." A Treatise of Civil Power is the work of a major poet at the height of his powers.  

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Yale University Press

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Yale University Press.

Edições: 0300126174, 0300131496

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