Silence and Geoffrey Hill’s Poetics of Witness

Silence and Geoffrey Hill’s Poetics of Witness Abstract Focusing on Geoffrey Hill’s early poetry concerning atrocity and the Holocaust, this essay argues that Hill presents his poems as shared events between the poles of the impossibility and the actuality of witness, instead of as poetic speech that fully signifies witness. Through close readings of “Funeral Music” and “September Song,” this article shows that Hill’s heavy use of negative rhetorical devices, his famous ambiguities, and his thematic explorations of silence do not debunk the possibility of witness but rather awaken awareness to the complications inherent in any response to atrocity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Religion and the Arts Brill

Silence and Geoffrey Hill’s Poetics of Witness

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1079-9265
eISSN
1568-5292
D.O.I.
10.1163/15685292-12341300
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Focusing on Geoffrey Hill’s early poetry concerning atrocity and the Holocaust, this essay argues that Hill presents his poems as shared events between the poles of the impossibility and the actuality of witness, instead of as poetic speech that fully signifies witness. Through close readings of “Funeral Music” and “September Song,” this article shows that Hill’s heavy use of negative rhetorical devices, his famous ambiguities, and his thematic explorations of silence do not debunk the possibility of witness but rather awaken awareness to the complications inherent in any response to atrocity.

Journal

Religion and the ArtsBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2013

Keywords: Geoffrey Hill; contemporary poetry; silence; witness; aporia; Shoah

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