From his remarkable debut The Hawk in the Rain (1957) to his death in 1998, Ted Hughes was a colossal presence in the English literary landscape. This edition collects for the first time his poetry of five decades, including such characteristic achievements as Crow, Tales from Ovid and Birthday Letters. It also charts the parallel but less familiar story of Hughes's private-press publications: a manifold activitiy ranging from broadsides and pamphlets to entire collections of poems, produced on small presses owned by the poet and his circle of family and friends, many of which have not previously circulated beyond their original readership.
The Collected Poems reprints the ensemble of the published poetry, including those poems written 'within hearing' of children which Hughes marked out for a separate adult readership, and the nearly two hundred uncollected poems which he published in periodicals but never reprinted. The various lives of the poetry are here integrated within a single chronology, and the notes give evidence of their interconnection, and of the extent to which revision was integral to this complex and copious body of work.