'All things in flux, yet attending': Nature and Attention in Late Geoffrey Hill

Bridget Vincent

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Throughout his career, Geoffrey Hill has been preoccupied with the ethical hazards that attend the use of language. His most recent writing (beginning with the Daybooks) sheds new light on this preoccupation, meditating on processes of attention that both precede utterance and form part of it. If Hill's work has always explored what it means to write ethically in a compromised medium, his last writing reflects on what happens before this. It asks what it means to perceive ethically, to observe, to record, and to notice. This turn particularly manifests itself in the late work's representations of the natural world. New patterns of composition emerge, in which poems move from small contingent observations to larger, more abstract claims, testing the intellectual load that partial perceptions can bear. Dramatizing an ethical reflection which acknowledges the partiality of perception and the linguistic medium, these poems reconfigure the longer history of Hill's ethics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-61
    JournalThe Yearbook of English Studies
    Volume51
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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