Saturday, June 05, 2010

`True Friendship'

My review of True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound by Christopher Ricks appears in Issue 20 of The Quarterly Conversation.

1 comment:

William A. Sigler said...

Book reviews have always been a mystery to me. How does one transmit the essence of 300 or more pages transcribing years of someone's life without resorting to writerly quips, facile summations, student questionings, and righteous genuflections self-pitying the reader's too-long foregone pride?

You do it, here, by teasing out a thread of connections, trusting that the book will speak for itself if given half a chance. This it does, but I can't help reflecting on what a truly odd pairing of poets this book presents. They share magnificent ears and a preference for erudition--but they veer off from that in so many directions calling them "friends" seems as ironic as the Blake line you quote in your review.

I speculate that the desire for the grouping to form a quincunx betrays in Ricks a preference for Eliot to be placed at the center, with those who earned from his strict school a degree of trust as satellites, but I'll just have to dabble in the book to find out more.