Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cash-for-Questions & the Public/Private Divide

The poems "To the High Court of Parliament"from Canaan, first published in the Times Literary Supplement, both have a date in their subtitles, November 1994.  These poems appeared, wrote Anthony Quinn in his essay "Geoffrey Hill in America," in 1994, during the Cash-for-questions scandal.  Quinn's argument was that Hill was directly addressing political spheres by publishing the poems in a well-read, highly distributed paper like the TLS, during the time of the affair.  
Quinn on Hill:
"He deplores contemporaneous events as would a left-leaning commentator, but does so from a position which honours tradition.  In this he is more conservative than the Conservatives, who with their talk of tradition only wished to conserve their own privileges and power; and insofar as he refuses to let go of the roots and inheritance of the English constitutional tradition he is more radical than the Left."
Anthony Quinn, American Errancy, p.64-65.