From Publishers Weekly
England's most fearsome living poet, Hill (Canaan, etc.), who has been working out of Boston University of late, has long been admired for his moral and philosophical seriousness and for his densely worked, hyperallusive language. Laid out in 120 12-line sections, Hill's new book-length poem follows naturally from, and often resembles, his 1998 The Triumph of Love, which arranged European history, political theory, autobiography and glittering, fragmentary description into one powerful, challenging, mosaiclike book. This work, like that one, invokes literary masters and historical martyrs and denounces England's, Europe's, and America's tawdry, media-driven present, where "Cameo actors can make killings/ their legacies." Boasting a brassier, denser metric than Hill's previous work has used, Hill's terse declarations and haughty thrusts give many passages their strength; they can render other bits monotonous or too private to decode. Individual sections (especially toward the middle of the work) function as self-contained arguments and lamentsAthese are among the best parts: one remembers the World War I poet Isaac Rosenberg, while another considers the "caught-short trot-pace of early film." Though less compellingly narrative than Triumph, this is Hill's most personal book yet. (Nov.)
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"It will, I suspect, become a classic of English poetry.." The Guardian - choosing the poetry book of the year. "Extraordinary... An acutely intelligent work... passionate, comical and even tender in places, utterly committed to the public good." Times Literary Supplement. "An alarming rant from the best poet we have... assaulting the emptiness of public discourse to which we have become accustomed." The Evening Standard - choosing the poetry book of the year. "Hill is still the supreme poet of grave and wonderful sensuousness, or of a sheer physical immediacy that few others currently achieve." The Sunday Times. "Speech! Speech! is a furiously serious attempt to extend the range of modern poetry, poignantly conscious of public indifference." The Observer"