Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 80, Geoffrey Hill

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 80, Geoffrey Hill.

“Where my own poetry is concerned, I am to some extent an autodidact. And people say, Well, how can you possibly call yourself an autodidact? You went to Oxford, didn’t you? The syllabus I took for my B.A. in English at Oxford finished at 1832. It began with Anglo-Saxon—or Old English—moved through Middle English and finished with the second Reform Bill. Virtually all that has gone into my poetry, with the arguable exception of Mercian Hymns, has been the product of my own further reading and the kind of process of self-education, of fraternal and sororal education that one gets from one’s contemporaries: a decent enough form of education. The idea that you have here a scholar with superb, unarguable credentials, who as a kind of hobby enjoys turning his scholarship into rhyme and meter, is again I think totally alien to my own understanding of how the thing is done. All I can say is that it isn’t like that.”


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