‘Here and there I pull a flower’
The Orchards of Syon (2002)
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The Orchards of Syon completes a tentative trilogy begun with The Triumph of Love and continued with Speech! Speech! All three-part sequences are bound to refer to the model of Dante's La Divina Commedia. Hill's commedia is fraught with the anxiety, anger, doubt, self-doubt and self-flagellation that besets Dante, and is similarly bold in its historical and referential reach. But part of its comedy lies in parody and self-mockery. ‘Syon’—a less militant spelling of ‘Zion’—is the promised land, and its orchards part of medieval visionary imagination. Here it is the sensuousness of the phrase that matters along with the redolence of blossoming beauty and Eden.

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Essays on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill


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