As France roils over recent expulsion policies by the Sarkozy government concerning the Roma (Roms as they are known in French), Hill's interview in Poetry Wales (Summer 2010) sounds out loud and clear: "...there was a rumour in my family that one of our ancestors was Roma, and I had hoped very much to have this proved."
Unlike the Pope, who spoke out against France's racist measures this past week, Hill was not directly addressng French policy. But certainly he has not forgotten that the nazi plan for genocide (the word came into being in 1944) was also directed against Roma.
Hill's poetry may not "make anything happen," but if you read it, you are likely to become more aware of what is happening.
Richard King, "Great Poetry is no Scandal," The Australian (August 4, 2010).
Gregory Wolfe, "Who's Afraid of Geoffrey Hill," Image 66 (Summer 2010).
Roms in France
Raymond Etienne, Olivier Bernard, François Soulage, "Roms : une crise humanitaire en France," Libération (July 28, 2009).
"Roms: deux évêques contre une 'surenchère sécuritaire,'" LibéRennes (July 27, 2010).
"Un camp de Roms évacué en région parisienne," Libération (August 12, 2010).
"Les propos du pape sur les Roms divisent la droite," Nouvel Observateur (August 23, 2010).
"Le Christ, comme un scrupule," Nystagmus (August 24, 2010).