Antiphonal Heckling

Geoffrey Hill

in Speaking to You

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199657001
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742194 | DOI:
Antiphonal Heckling

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This chapter considers Hill's late poetic oeuvre (especially Triumph and Speech! Speech!) and teases out links between the antiphonal voices of the early with the later work, drawing particularly on ‘The Love Song of Sebastian Arrurruz’. Hill's heckle is a kind of licensed poetic impropriety, the opposite voice that enters to ensure fair play. It allows one to consider the taking of turns as valid even when speaking out of turn. It draws a point of public address, of civil speech, into writing. (Can one heckle in print? Is a heckle a form of address?) Hill's heckling is not a spur-of-the-moment interruption of another, but deliberative, responsive, highly structured: a ritualized intervention. This chapter discusses the particularly rich (and combative) intertextual antiphonies that can be heard between Hill's ‘Songbook’ and Pound's final poem of Mauberley, ‘Envoi (1919)’, as well as between ‘Arrurruz’ and ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’.

Keywords: Hill; heckling; address; interruption; rude; poetry

Chapter.  5896 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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