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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the top ten poetry collections in the world
To be honest - I don't know what to say. I am utterly speechless. If I could give six stars I would. These poems are among the best I have ever read in my life - and I have read quite a lot of poetry. Apparently Ted Hughes was trying to make language ugly: And that is the one thing he didn't succeed in. It is beautiful, full of vivid images and emotions. Just as the...
Published on 12 Mar 2002 by thekla_

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3.0 out of 5 stars Troubled poetry
This is some of Hughes' blacker poetry. It will give the reader a greater insight into the vast range of Hughes' work
Published 14 months ago by Eliza


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the top ten poetry collections in the world, 12 Mar 2002
This review is from: Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library) (Hardcover)
To be honest - I don't know what to say. I am utterly speechless. If I could give six stars I would. These poems are among the best I have ever read in my life - and I have read quite a lot of poetry. Apparently Ted Hughes was trying to make language ugly: And that is the one thing he didn't succeed in. It is beautiful, full of vivid images and emotions. Just as the anti-hero doesn't appear evil but instead very human indeed. I can heartily recommend this book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scripture and Physics, 4 July 2000
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This review is from: Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library) (Hardcover)
This is definitely the book that divides most Hughes readers. For some it's the peak of his achievement in the mythopoeic vein - and the range of cultural reference is amazing. Hughes aplcalyptic mishmash of 'scripture and physics' plunders from theology, anthropology, science, myth and popular culture with both verve and intelligence. For others, however, the writing is criticised as sloppy, hit and miss - and certainly, if you were brought up to appreciate the 'finished', constructed poems of the 'practical criticism' era, then the shock to sensibility must've been immense.
A lot is still said about the 'blood and guts' Hughes, and 'Crow' might well be one of the more 'violent' of his books. But even here there are poems of real tenderness and concentrated awareness. If you don't believe me, check out 'Little Blood' and especially the beautiful, 'Undersong'. 'Crow' might well boil down to a book essentially about the struggle to survive in a destructive universe, but it is also haunted and undercut by possibilities that are more vulnerable, fecund and creative. This has always been the side of Hughes that prevents him from lapsing entirely into nihilism, and even in this, perhaps his darkest book, there is something to scavenge from the rubble.
Wherever you stand, though, there's nothing like it anywhere else in British poetry.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Troubled poetry, 12 May 2013
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This is some of Hughes' blacker poetry. It will give the reader a greater insight into the vast range of Hughes' work
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally found a much loved lost book from the past, 4 April 2013
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This is an amazing collection of poems, and was much loved when I was young, but lost in the mists of time,

Great customer service and arrived very quickly, thank you
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4.0 out of 5 stars Curious, 2 May 2011
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A delicious hodge-podge of imagery, with an interesting progression through the anthology. A fascinating collection, for those new to Hughes, or those already familiar with his work. This collection stands alone and is worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Survivor's Myth, 20 Mar 2011
Crow is a trickster figure from myth. Drawing on his vast knowledge of the world's mythologies, Hughes creates a great survivor myth for the post-holocaust world. Begun in the trauma after Sylvia Plath's suicide, the cycle of poems were abandoned after the deaths of Assia and Shura. Hughes was never able to complete the myth. But that seems to be part of the significance of the work: it's very incompleteness. This is one of the key texts of the twentieth century.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty, darkness, humour, violence all in one, 3 Nov 2010
I rarely read poetry, but I enjoyed this strange little book by Ted Hughes. It's full of dark imagery, violence and unexpected humour. The poems read like myths of the origins of the world, except that at the middle of them all is Crow, this anarchic, chaotic, ugly, violent figure, playing tricks on God and turning creation upside-down.

I was reminded of the Anansi figure in West Indian Folk Tales, himself of course of West African origin. I suspect Hughes drew on a lot of mythological sources in these poems, many of which I am blissfully unaware of, but it didn't seem to matter - even in the poems where I wasn't sure what he was driving at, I was pleased by the rhythm of the language, somehow different in each poem but forming a coherent whole.

There's a lot more you could say about these poems - you could probably do a whole English Literature course on them - but I don't want to go that deep. I'm happy for now just to have discovered that rare thing for me, poetry that I can truly enjoy. I'll keep this on my shelf and probably re-read from time to time, if only to try to understand why this worked for me and so much other poetry doesn't.
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Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library) by Ted Hughes (Hardcover - 4 Feb 1996)
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