AbstractGeoffrey Hill has said that some great poetry 'recognises that words fail us'. These essays explore Hill's struggle over fifty years with the recalcitrance of language. This book seeks to show how all his work is marked by the quest for the right pitch of utterance whether it is sorrowing, angry, satiric or erotic. It shows how Hill's words are never lightly 'acceptable' but an ethical act, how he seeks out words he can stand by – words that are 'getting it right'. This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date critical work on Geoffrey Hill, covering all his work up to Scenes from Comus (2005), as well as some poems yet to appear in book form. It aims to contribute something to the understanding of his poetry among those who have followed it for many years as well as students and other readers encountering this major poet for the first time.
J. P. Wainwright. Acceptable words: essays on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005.