Thanks to Baroque in Hackney for finding this Interview with Geoffrey Hill in the Oxonian Review.
For someone with a reputation for forbiddingly serious poetry, its nice to see he doesn’t take himself too seriously:
How do you envisage your own poetry’s readership?
Impossible to say. When I see my half-yearly royalties statements I seem not to have a readership at all. Yet in 2006 when I gave a reading in the Sheldonian the place was packed, chiefly with young people. And at poetry readings I continually meet older people who bring for signing a copy of every book since For the Unfallen (1959). A few even have the frail 1952 Fantasy pamphlet. There are obviously devoted readers, but it’s all rather subterranean, a bit like wartime resistance. When you ask about “public role” you have to take into account this aspect also.
Occasionally I come across a Geoffrey Hill poem I can understand. “What is there in my heart that you should sue” transformed my winter solstice. It’s well worth learning by heart.
Mark McGuinness says
Careful – “Understanding is the booby prize.” 🙂
Seriously – great choice of poem.