There is the consensus that Hughes's early work is the best. There is the consensus that 'Crow', is the pinnacle of his achievement, or even 'Birthday Letters'.
What this volume reveals, is that though Hughes's reputation spent some time out in the cold between the publication of 'Crow' and 'Birthday Letters', he wrote many very fine poems in between those two sales high-points. Take the wonderfully vivid agricultural sketches of 'Moortown Diary', the spare, bony lyrics and elegies of 'Remains of Elmet', the near-Wordsorthian trances and epiphanies of 'River', the tender and gruelling portraites of his war-scarred father in 'Wolfwatching'. A sizeable reputation could have been made by skimming the best of these volumes alone, never mind the more universally lauded stuff. And you get that as well in this volume.