Ted Hughes's first collection for adults since 1962. Some of its poems, like the title poem, go back to the late fifties and early sixties.
Wodwo collects poems, short stories (like »The Rain Horse«, »The Harvesting«, and »Sunday«) and a radio play called »The Wound«. It also contains an author's note which is very popular among critics, stating that poems, play and stories are intended to be read together »as parts of a single work«. Among the most popular poems in this book are: »Second Glance at a Jaguar« (ref. to »The Jaguar« in ), »Gog«, »Out«, »New Moon in January«, »Song of a Rat«, »Skylarks«, »The Howling of Wolves«, »Pibroch«, »Gnat-Psalm«, »Thistles«, »Full Moon and Little Frieda« and »Wodwo«.
Several poems from the period between 1962 and 1967 were published in the limited edition , some of which reappeared in the .
This book collects pieces from Ted Hughes's work for the BBC in which he talks about poetry and encourages the listener/reader to try and write their own poems, stories and even novels. As a book about writing it is equally well suited for creative writing classes and for literary criticism. And it is a very good and interesting read.
The essays tell much about Hughes's approach. In most of them he uses poems of other writers as well as some of his own to illustrate the points made. Two entire chapters are dedicated to collections of poetry for children: (including ) and . Other poems discussed include »The Thought-Fox« and »View of a Pig«.
For some unknown reason, three essays are missing from the American edition: »Writing a Novel: Beginning«, »Writing a Novel: Going On«, and »Words and Experience«.
Two excerpts were published in Winter Pollen.
(»Capturing Animals« and »Learning to Think« ) were briefly available on in 1971.
Tales of the Early world is Hughes's second book of Creation Tales.
While (the first collection with Creation Tales) contained several stories that were strongly reminiscent of Kipling and Aesop, Tales of the Early World takes the reader into an original Hughesian world.
The stories feature God, God's Mother, Woman and Man as major protagonists and are reminiscent of the world portrayed in the link narrative of .
A very entertaining read. The third collection of Creation Tales is listed below.
Tales of the Early World is also available as an , read by Ted Hughes.
Moon-Whales is the revised British edition of published by Viking in 1976. Yet, the revisions and the new set of illustrations render it virtually a different book. It omits six poems from the American edition.
The book is Hughes's second collaboration with Chris Riddell, the full impact of whose illustrations may only be experienced from the hard back (the paperback clips several images).
Moon-Whales collects poems from and the limited edition of . It portrays creatures who inhabit a moon »at the bottom of our dreams« [Poetry in the Making] and events that occur there.
The poems range from nonsensically playful and plain funny to serious. A wonderful book.
With luck, the recent North American release of Hughes' "Collected Poems" will help shift our attention back to his remarkable accomplishments as a writer.
At the end of the sixties and in the early seventies Ted Hughes worked with Peter Brook's International Theatre Company, adapting and providing material for the company's experiments and rehearsal. The collaboration culminated in the productions of Oedipus and the unpublished Orghast. (Rumour has it that the Orghast script is lost.) Apparently, Hughes was also involved in the production of Peter Brook's movie King Lear.
His biographer, Elaine Feinstein, reports that as a teenager, Hughes was shaken by newsreels of the concentration camps liberated at the end of the Second World War.
Season Songs is a sequence of poems loosely following events in the seasonal cycle of the year. It is based on the earlier Five Autumn Songs for Children's Voices (1968) which Hughes wrote for a performance by school children at a festival.
Season Songs is a beautiful little book for children and adults alike. Several subsequent editions exist to which poems have been added or from which pieces have been omitted.
The most complete is the English edition of 1985, missing ›only‹ the following poems: »The Defenders« (in American edition), »The Stag« and »Two Horses« (both in 1976 edition).
The Iron Man is probably Hughes's most well-known book for children. A heavily adapted version of the basic story was made into an award winning which nevertheless stays true to the redemptive, healing drift of the book.
The book tells the story of a little boy, Hogarth, who lives in a rural community which is confronted by an enormous Iron Man. A wonderful read.
The Iron Man is also available as an , read by Ted Hughes.
This book collects the poems of and the limited edition , published by the Rainbow Press in 1976, and illustrated by Hughes himself. It has a much wider range of topic and tone than The Earth-Owl.
A ›revised‹ edition simply titled , splendidly illustrated by Chris Riddell, was published by Faber & Faber in 1988. It omits six poems from the Baskin edition of 1976.
This is a collection of poems for children which takes its title from one of the poems from also included here. In spite of its name, it does not belong with The Earth-Owl and Moon-Whales. The other poems were either previously uncollected or come from a variety of books for adults and children. Some of them have subsequently been republished in collections for adults.
The scope of the collection is astounding. It ranges from playful childly material like »Nessie« and the Moon poems to ›nature‹ and ›animal poetry‹ as »Coming Down Through Somerset«, to material from the Crow context like »Amulet« and »Horrible Song«.
As such, Moon-Bells shows the full breadth of Ted Hughes's writing for children. It presents an author who takes children seriously and doesn't underestimate their ability to grasp complexities like natural cycles of life and death.
The 1986 edition has three additional poems.
Through out my essay, in which is to follow, I will be comparing the way two poets, John Claire and Ted Hughes, write about the theme of nature and the season of summer.
Cave Birds continues the kind of quest story apparent from such material as »The Wound«, Gaudete and Crow. A first, limited edition appeared in 1975. All later editions are heavily revised and very different from this.
Cave Birds tells of the purification of a protagonist in what parallels stages of an alchemical process of transforming base material (sometimes referred to as »bronze« in the book) into a refined substance.
Possibly the most well-known poem in the book is »Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days«, which Hughes re-incorporated into the version on the , where it originally belonged. In her book Ted Hughes.
In The Poetic Quest, Ann Skea offers a poem by poem guide to the work ().