‘Greatest Living Poet’ Speaks at Leeds University

Poetry reading review, 17 October, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre


Ex-English Professor at the University of Leeds Sir Geoffrey Hill (now Oxford Professor of Poetry) performed a compelling reading at Leeds University and fondly recalled his time here throughout the performance.

Sir Geoffrey

The poet, who was knighted earlier this year, returned to Leeds to mark his 80th Birthday and to celebrate the University library’s acquisition of his full works to date.

The reading began with a handful of Sir Geoffrey’s favourite poems, including works across the poetic spectrum from Eliot, Pound and Hopkins. The highlight was a captivating recital of D.H. Lawrence’s Bavarian Gentians, in which his masterful voice powerfully portrayed its sentiments.

Following this, Sir Geoffrey Hill confirmed why many consider him to be the greatest living poet with a passionate reading of his own poetry. The poems were carefully chosen to represent his special affinity with the University of Leeds.

This began with the inspiring Solomon’s Mines from his first collection, published while he was still lecturing at the institution. The performance spanned his works throughout the years, reaching full momentum with his yet to be published nostalgic dedication to his colleague Tony Harrison, arguably Leeds University’s most celebrated poetic alumni.

Tonight, Sir Geoffrey Hill truly gave his poetry a voice, which helped to elevate his famous words far beyond the page during his momentous return to Leeds.

Find his poems here.