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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > September 2017 > Imagining history

Imagining history

Alice Goodman tells Sameer Rahim how to write political operas— and mourns her husband, the poet Geoffrey Hill
“News has a kind of mystery”: Nixon (James Maddalena) sings after touching down in Nixon in China

Four years ago, I spent a memorable afternoon with the poet and Anglican priest Alice Goodman and her husband the poet Geoffrey Hill. We were at the parish rectory in Fulbourn, a village near Cambridge, discussing Hill’s recently published Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012. That book was the culmination of an extraordinary life’s work that confirmed his position as England’s greatest living poet. He also had just been knighted—a rare honour for a writer. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our interview was the couple’s teasing repartee: at times, it felt as though they were improvising a Beckett play especially for me. But when I returned to the rectory in July, I spoke to Goodman in a more sombre mood. Hill had died almost exactly a year earlier, aged 84.

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In Prospect’s September issue: Emily Andrews, Andrew Brown and Tom Clark assess what the reign of King Charles might look like. Andrews profiles Charles and questions whether he will be able to keep his opinions to himself. Andrew Brown look at the coronation—the world is a very different place now from when the last one took place. Tom Clark explains the results of our poll, conducted by ICM, into people’s view on Charles taking the throne—it turns out fewer people than ever before want the heir to become our monarch. Elsewhere in the issue Nick Cohen details his battle with the bottle and shows that Britain has a problem with drink that it doesn’t want to talk about, and Toni Morrison Also in this issue: Toni Morrison on America’s stubborn race divide, Brian Klaas on how Europe should deal with Trump and Jessica Abrahams explains everything you need to know about fourth wave feminism