Tuesday, May 19, 2009

`Strongholds of the Imagination'

Thanks to Dave Lull for passing along an interview with Geoffrey Hill, “Strongholds of the Imagination,” from The Oxonian Review. Here’s a sample:

“I believe that poets should be self-taught, based on an intensive programme of preferably serendipitous reading.”

“Obviously the poet’s public role is to be first and foremost a poet. But it is not ‘philosophically’ wrong for a poet to be deeply, or heavily, involved with journalism and/or politics; it all turns on the matter of intrinsic quality. The public role of the poem is to be a stronghold of the imagination.”

“There are obviously devoted readers, but it’s all rather subterranean, a bit like wartime resistance.”

“I greatly admire [John Milton’s] political sonnets. I believe that, were he alive now, he would be the people’s champion against plutocratic anarchy.”

“Bad poetry, bad art, also dissipate the sense of things at once exactly and numinously understood. Great poetry is an act of unfailing attention; its frequently cited “music” must so be understood.”

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