Hill, Barry

Barry Hill - Naked Clay


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Barry Hill - Naked Clay

ISBN 978-1-84861-187-0, Paperback, 9x6ins, 160pp, 9x6ins
Download a PDF sampler from this book here.

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, 2012.

Naked Clay is an intimate response to the paintings of Lucian Freud — 'the great amplifier of twentieth century figurative art,' as the critic Sebastian Smee has written. With an astonishing touch for individual paintings, and for the connections between seeing and touching, Hill begins his own process of amplification with poems arising out of the 'Flemish' portraits and life-studies of Freud's early work, those exacting acts of surveillance that made such an impression on London half a century ago. The poems then move, in keeping with Freud's shift of style, into the matters of flesh, nakedness and performance with which the painter is still confronting viewers. Of Freud's 'late style', the painter Frank Auerbach wrote that it has 'no safety net of manner.' This might be said of Hill's engagement with Freud's incomparably candid treatment of his ailing mother, his naked daughters, his male and female friends, each of them tenderly and shockingly rendered in all their 'creatureliness'. The poems are as urgent as the paintings, and taken together they constitute an essay on the ambiguous gifts from a painter of such mortal, material presences. Barry Hill has created a unique space for the senses and the intellect to be prompted, explored and disturbed.

Read a review online at Stride here.

Read a review in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Read a review at The Drunken Boat here.


Critical Responses to Naked Clay:

"A masterpiece, the finest realisation of painting in poetry as well as poetry in painting I have read." —John Kinsella.

"Brave, at times uncomfortably intimate, these poems are the record of a superb poet's urgent, indignant and enlivening conversations with the works of Lucian Freud. At once precise and demotic, each poem – full of uncanny life, smeared with ideas, stained with the residue of thought and feeling – stands apart from the paintings. But like the paintings, to borrow Hill's own phrase, all of them 'thicken looking.' I'll be going back to them regularly." —Sebastian Smee.

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