Reading fine work by Geoffrey Hill (in Collected Essays) on Emerson, Whitman, GM Hopkins.

From the essay on Hopkins (p. 518) :

"Among the numerous consequences of the era of so-called 'protest art' is the irrational embarrassment of the current reaction against the theme of protest, or of political writings in general. Whatever the excesses and affectations of the 1960s and 70s may have done to harm the cause of poetry, there is nonetheless a real connection between it and politics : as real now, if we could disclose its true stratum or vein, as in the Tudor court poetry of Skelton, Surrey & Wyatt or in the political sonnets of Milton or in the relation between Wordsworth's 'Preface' to Lyrical Ballads and his tract On the Convention of Cintra, or between Whitman's editorials for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and other papers, and Leaves of Grass...
"Civil polity - let us make the claim - is poetry's natural habitat..."

Civil polity is poetry's natural habitat. Curious rhyme there with the likes of Dale Smith or Kent Johnson (& obviously many others). But G. Hill strongly opposes "the divine common" (Whitman) with "the mean, flat average" (Whitman, too). The commerce of literature & po-biz, the power of the Big Cliche, is opposed to true "glory" (in Hill's parlance, both divine & human).

(Did you know he has a poem for/about Jimi Hendrix?)

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