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The Orchards of Syon

4.42  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
The fourth book of poems by Geoffrey Hill to appear since 1996, this is the final installment of the remarkable series that began with Canaan and continued with The Triumph of Love and Speech! Speech! Read together, these four books -- each a distinct and complete aesthetic achievement -- form a single great poem, a kind of high-modernist Divine Comedy that is at once a ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published February 14th 2002 by Counterpoint (first published 2002)
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Oct 12, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I think Hill is one of the great poets of our time, but that is based mostly on everything up through his collection Canaan. Since then, I wasn't sure how to take Hill 2.0. His preceding work often used rhyme (not important to me), but possessed a somber and prophetic density (important to me) that moved his work well beyond most of what is being written today. Then the new and confessional stuff started. I think I've finally accepted this shift, in part because I've finally settled on a way to ...more
Dec 13, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
In parts too long, too short, too obscure, too overwrought, too obtuse, too yearning, too old-fashioned but always too much and never not enough, this book to me sums up better than any other what Hill's poetry is all about. Published the same year as Jorie Graham's equally-powerful Never, it has to stand as one of its decade's greatest volumes of poetry in the English language. Hill restores to the canon via these orchards the valid need for poetry to be “about” greater things instead of being ...more
J D Murray
Jan 08, 2015 J D Murray rated it really liked it
Ah, Geoffrey Hill, your reputation precedes you. Dense, theological, fearsomely difficult, ofttimes surpassing mortal comprehension- maybe a bit pretentious?

But not always incomprehensible. It helps if you don't torture yourself over the obscure allusions and let the words wash over you, but then that will help with anything labelled "difficult" in your head, at least on a first reading. And I always did care more about what I meant by The Waste Land than what Eliot meant by it.

And not without p
Aug 19, 2016 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites, britain
Like the best of Hill's long poems, Syon (unfortunately) starts out densely allusive and hermeneutical but gradually lets up into something vaguely comprehensible. Here, it's an elegy for twentieth century poetry. For Hill that's Mandelstam, Celan, Pavese, Ingeborg Bachmann, Montale, Hopkins, Lawrence, and Frank O'Hara. Hill name-drops them all repeatedly, and there're some cute moments when he calls D.H. Lawrence "Bert." If I hadn't previously read and loved his early Mercian Hymns and late mas ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Sir Geoffrey William Hill was an English poet and professor emeritus of English literature and religion.
More about Geoffrey Hill...

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