We compare the optical response of wurtzite and zinc blende GaP nanowire arrays for varying geometry of the nanowires. We measure reflectance spectra of the arrays and extract from these measurements the absorption in the nanowires. To support our experimental findings and to allow for more detailed investigations of the optical response of the nanowire arrays than possible in experiments, we perform electromagnetic modeling. This modeling highlights the validity of the extraction of the absorptance from reflectance spectra, as well as limitations of the extraction due to anti-reflection properties of the nanowires. In our combined experimental and theoretical study, we find for both zinc blende and wurtzite nanowires an absorption resonance that can be tuned into the ultraviolet by decreasing the diameter of the nanowires. This peak stops blue-shifting with decreasing nanowire diameter at a wavelength of approximately 330 nm for zinc blende GaP. In contrast, for the wurtzite GaP nanowires, the resonance continues blue-shifting at 310 nm for the smallest diameters we succeeded in fabricating. We interpret this as a difference in refractive index between wurtzite and zinc blende GaP in this wavelength region. These results open up for optical applications through resonant absorption in the visible and ultraviolet wavelength regions with both zinc blende and wurtzite GaP nanowire arrays. Notably, zinc blende and wurtzite GaP support resonant absorption deeper into the ultraviolet region than previously found for zinc blende and wurtzite InP and InAs.