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The Triumph of Love
     

The Triumph of Love

by Geoffrey Hill
 

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In Geoffrey Hill's words, "The poet's job is to define and yet again define. If the poet doesn't make certain horrors appear horrible, who will?" This astonishing book is a protest against evil and a tribute to those who have had the courage to resist it.

Overview


In Geoffrey Hill's words, "The poet's job is to define and yet again define. If the poet doesn't make certain horrors appear horrible, who will?" This astonishing book is a protest against evil and a tribute to those who have had the courage to resist it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Art of the highest lyric intensity . . . it stands with the work of Mandelstam and Montale." Boston Globe

"Geoffrey Hill may be the strongest and most original English poet of the second half of our fading century . . . The range of variation and diction, rhetorical level, degree and function of wordplay and, along that great spectrum from solemn to funny that true seriousness inhabits, provides in itself a kind of dramaturgy." The Los Angeles Times

"Hill's poems serve exalted artistic ends . . . They display such burnish, such sensuality and coiled force, that by comparison most other verse looks pale, undernourished and unimportant." The Washington Post

"Hill, always the heir of William Blake and D. H. Lawrence, more than confirms his calling as poet-prophet in The Triumph of Love. The poem is a great and difficult moral, cognitive, and aesthetic achievement -- 'a sad and angry consolation' almost beyond measure." -- Harold Bloom

"Hill's poems demand and reward reading upon reading: the ascent is steep, the view austerely sublime." The Wall Street Journal

James Wood
Sensuous but deeply penitential, his poetry visits waves of scruple upon itself....More than any other English poet, he weighs the historicity of language...and he hears well the doublenesses, and triplenesses, of words, the ways in which they have decayed into cliche...
London Review of Books
Langdon Hammer
The poem's aim is to honor faith and innocence as embodied in victims of historical violence....Hill's work has always been...a resistantly private art weighted with literary allusion. The Triumph of Love is no exceptionbut there are ways into it....[The poem] draws its impressive energy from a tolerance of disorder that is new....Now...Hill's feelings are unbound... —The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Unexpectedly soon after last year's searing Canaan comes Hill's latest indictment of Western Culture, once again obsessively examining the pockmarked, exhausted corpse of "Europa." A single poem of 150 stanzas, The Triumph of Love uncharacteristically reads as if it had been written in non-stop, Kerouac-style sessions, though Hill's signature densely wrought, freighted lines remain. Here, Hill's preoccupations are Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, the apocalyptic fire-bombings of cities in Britain and Germany and the shoah, invoked by reference to The Book of Daniel, the work of Callot and intimations of its horrors that seemingly came to the poet in boyhood. In grappling with the question of redemption for the murdered, Hill finds himself questioning--in "livid" self-examinations addressing a career's worth of criticism--the didactic mode he has previously used to such great effect. With the same granite-cut allusions and morally outraged rants that have incurred charges of turgid iconoclasm, Hill defiantly clings to his chosen mode ("I offer to the presiding judge of our art, self-pleasured Ironia"), even as he sputters in not-quite-mock self-justification. Summoning poetic heroes from Milton to Eugenio Montale, Hill finally tries out the possibilities of praise ("Lauda? Lauda? Lauda Sion? LAUDA!") only to turn and undercut them: "Incantation of incontinence--the lyric cry?/ Believe me, he's not/ told you the half of it. (All who are able may stand.)" Despite the tongue-in-cheek invitation, the reader who has followed Hill's heroic efforts to answer to history may be tempted to stand in admiration anyway.
Langdon Hammer
The poem's aim is to honor faith and innocence as embodied in victims of historical violence....Hill's work has always been...a resistantly private art weighted with literary allusion. The Triumph of Love is no exception, but there are ways into it....[The poem] draws its impressive energy from a tolerance of disorder that is new....Now...Hill's feelings are unbound...
The New York Times Book Review
Eric Ormsby
...[U]nusually capacious in its historical and spatial scope....[The poet adopts] a wide range of tones, from the savagely stately..to the petulant and even squalid....Little escapes his scorn...journalism or the entertainment industry or high finance or the unworthy among his poetic rivals or, most laceratingly, himself. — The New Criterion
Denis Donoghue
[Hill] is a strange, rebarbative force in poetry, a lover of causes he fears are decisively lost, and for that reason he is dismayed, and then enraged. It is the rage that stays with us when we think of the poems.
The NY Review of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618001835
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
01/12/2000
Edition description:
None
Pages:
98
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.25(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Geofrey Hill was born in 1932, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He is the author of five books of poetry, two volumes of literary criticism, and a stage version of Isben's poetic drama Brand. He teaches in the University Professors Program at Boston University. He currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts

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