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This item is taken from PN Review 235, Volume 43 Number 5, May - June 2017.

News & Notes
Geoffrey Hill in Leeds · contributed by JON GLOVER · There have been many celebrations of Geoffrey Hill’s life and poetry. I say ‘many’ with a rueful smile. What I mean is that, as well as the event in Oxford at his own college, Keble, in October 2016 and the meeting in the Great Hall in the University of Leeds on 17 March 2017, there have been countless times when people have read his poems, thought of lines with particular personal associations, and thought with regret and gratitude of his work on language and poetry, in effect, on their behalf. I should also include the Requiem held in Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Since his death I have spoken to many people about Hill and his poetry. I have been surprised and pleased at how many individuals remember words from poems that have stayed with them, and have changed poetry forever. I would like to think of this amazing familiarisation as being something, in the widest sense, religious, in which especially active language becomes shared and meaningful, something one carries around.

The University of Leeds was where Hill was first appointed in 1954 as a lecturer in English. The then Head of Department, Bonamy Dobrée, wanted an extra hand, and if that person could be a poet to work alongside the country’s first ‘poets in residence’, the Gregory Fellows, all to the good. The then Fellow, John Heath-Stubbs knew Hill’s work and was going for the weekend to Oxford. Dobrée asked Heath-Stubbs to speak to Hill, aged twenty-two, ...


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