The Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill, gave his second public lecture last night. A large crowd had gathered in the South School of Examination Schools, to listen to what he meant by the title of his talk ‘Eccentrique to the endes of his Master or State’.
I do not possess the literary means necessary to interpret the bulk of the lecture, but I can tell you I was rather suprised when Hill – 78 years old and illustrating this with a long white beard – suddenly started talking about the poetry of Mike Skinner aka The Streets and PJ Harvey.
He didn’t think much of The Streets’ rhyming (“what has plot ever done but thickened?”) but Polly Jean had apparently made a stronger impression on the Professor.
“Half the staff of HMV followed me to the door. A tramp throwing away his money on PJ Harvey, they must have thought. The economy must be on the mend!”
He took PJ Harvey’s new cd Let England Shake home and listened to it – and was “not entirely displeased”.