Unusually, the photographs came first. Fay Godwin, widely revered for her austere, atmospheric landscape photographs, went abroad in the area where Hughes grew up and produced a portfolio of images. It was these which then inspired Hughes' poems.
First published in 1979 as "The Remains of Elmet", this is an expanded version with more images and more poems. It is a meeting made in heaven - albeit a brooding, Heathcliffean heaven. The poems are mostly short and deceptively simple. They refer to and depend on the images. The images are mysterious, haunting and deeply, richly textured. Most seem to have been taken with a large plate and long exposure. They are printed in a warm, brownish black on silky paper and the reproduction is superb. Even the sunshine seems to glower darkly. Hughes' poems are glimpses into his thinking; more contemplative than some of his stuff but very much in his classic mood; not so much bleak but spare, and with a richness and smouldering warmth under all. Yet strangely none of this Yorkshire grit is depressing; the whole effect is of "deep time", velvety sensuousness, and slow calm. Buy it for the Yorkshireman (or woman) in your life.