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Speaking to YouContemporary Poetry and Public Address$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.001.0001

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Antiphonal Heckling

Antiphonal Heckling

Chapter:
(p.184) 9 Antiphonal Heckling
Source:
Speaking to You
Author(s):

Geoffrey Hill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.003.0010

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

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