the failure of the roster of commentators, in last month's Guardian feature on whom we might anoint our 'greatest living author', even to mention Geoffrey Hill in that context. We were surprised & saddened at the omission, for the only poets they did bring up were Edwin Morgan, Michael Longley (an Irishman) and Zbigniew Herbert (a Pole, and dead) – Edwin Morgan, to risk the Bloomian rasp, has never approached Hill's stature, despite having produced a translation of Beowulf which in our view excels Heaney's. By 'author', it seems, most of them assumed 'novelist' was meant. What sorry pundits! Not even Nicholas Lezard, in some reviews his puppyish votary, remembered the author Tenebrae and of The Trimuph of Love, of
A pale full sun, draining its winter light,
illuminates the bracken and the bracken-coloured
leaves of stubborn oak. Intermittently
the wínd spoórs ׀ over sált ínlets
and the whiteish grass between the zones,
apprehension’s covenant. Could this
perhaps end here: a Paradiso
not accounted for – unaccountable –
eternally in prospect, memory’s blank
heliograph picketing the lost estate?
ánd ׀ ís this vision enough ׀ unnamed, unknown
bird of immediate flight, of estuaries?
[Speech! Speech!, 102]