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Acceptable WordsEssays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill$
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Jeffrey Wainwright

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719067549

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719067549.001.0001

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Afterword: ‘“I have not finished”’

Afterword: ‘“I have not finished”’

(p.136) 11 Afterword: ‘“I have not finished”’
Acceptable Words

Jeffrey Wainwright

Manchester University Press

Looking at the closing passage of ‘Discourse: For Stanley Rosen’, this chapter dwells on the penultimate line: ‘its bleak littoral swept by bursts of sunlight’. The littoral has held a powerful place in Geoffrey Hill's poetic imagination right from the beginning. In ‘Discourse: For Stanley Rosen’, littoral and sunlight work as a metaphor for ‘well dug-in language’ itself. All of Hill's work in the tilth of language knows that metaphor is but one instance of its approximate nature, that it ‘pitches us as it finds’. But his wintry, hedged, clouded, ‘rare pale’ sunlights might sometimes pitch him, and so his readers, beyond labouring.

Keywords:   Geoffrey Hill, Stanley Rosen, littoral, poetic imagination, sunlight, poetic metaphor

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