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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hill Walking

Splendid news.  England's finest living poet, Geoffrey Hill, has been elected the new Professor of Poetry for Oxford.  This practically papal position de facto renders Hill the most-esteemed elder figure of a crowded field, that stretches down its influence, to such "modern classics" as Fenton and Motion.  In short, he is confirmed as what he has been, in all but name, for years in the UK - part of the triumvirate of living greats of English, along with Walcott and Heaney - and, by extension, Ashbery, if one wants to include American poets.  Hill is grander than all these, openly wrestling with religion, politics, and ideas, in a more rhetorically ornate and high manner - the Miltonic tradition.  He is therefore a suitable follower-on from Ricks.  A note on Michael Horovitz: it is a pity he received so few votes (though over 300 is not an embarrassment); he would, if Hill had not been running, a good choice himself - and he ran a spirited and enjoyable campaign that brought proper attention to alternate strands in British poetry.
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