I was looking for a particular quote from Ted Hughes and had been unable to find it until I got this complete collection of his work. It still took me some time to find it (A Motorbike) but in the process of searching I came to realise what an enormous output of work this man had done. He was a tough northener of my time and I recognise his stories, his poems - TWO HORSES for instance yet he was happy to live and write about the black towns of Yorkshire and Lancashire. His work was like his life, full of energy, love and affection for those in trouble. A Poet Laureat of very great distinction and a deserved recipient of the Order of Merit.
There's something beautiful about a big book, about picking up its solid weight in your hands and just holding it, and this is a big book. You can't easily curl up with it in bed: it's a serious book, the kind made for a library, and the same kind of quiet contemplation that a library inspires.
If you're like me, it's the poems concerned with landscapes, the elements and the animal kingdom that really thrill you. From the exquisite sunrise in "The Horses":
Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun Orange, red, red erupted
Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud, Shook the gulf open, showed blue,
And the big planets hanging -
to the power of the "Wind":
The wind flung a magpie away and a black- Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly...
Reading Hughes work is literally hair-raising, and barely a poem goes by that you don't find a line that touches you on an inner level and brings goosebumps out in force.
But to suggest that there is nothing more to Hughes, would be to do the sweeping range of his poetry a disservice and this book, as no other volume can, comprises the genuine depth and scope of his work. From antiquity and history to shamanism and the supernatural, his poetry revels in the human and the animal, in the material and the spiritual.
For any serious reader of Hughes' work, this book represents the whole gamut and should be a must-own tome for your shelves. A book not so much to be dipped into, as to be immersed in for hours.
At Ted Hughes' funeral, the great Seamus Heaney mourned: "By his death, the veil of poetry is rent and the walls of learning broken." Yet through this book, through these words freshly read, the dynamic voice of Hughes endures.
This is an incredible volume of powerful poetry. There's no one like Hughes. His poems feel like the Earth, they taste of the clay and flow like great rivers. I've carried his 'Selected Poems' for some years, and now have the unfortunate task of getting used to the weight of this enormous book! Thankfully, the editor has allowed the poems to speak for themselves. With poetry such as this, there's very little a drawn-out Introduction or Preface can do. And it's all here. Every Crow, every Pike and every Plath. The 'Uncollected' sections are fantastically engaging, as are the early, juvenile poems. And if you're new to Hughes, why not just buy this volume. It's all here, and you won't regret it.
Hughes is certainly in control of language - there's never any question of it being in control of him. The poems are willful and beautifully wrought. nonetheless, their glorification of the macho and notion of an endlessly cruel nature raises all sorts of ethical issues. I admire this poetry immensely but I don't like it.
It is very difficult to sum up the poetry of Ted Hughes. I should imagine that anybody buying this vast volume of his poetry is already familiar with his most famous work, this delves much deeper into the progression of his poetry. As one famous intellect once said (i forget his name) a 'real' poem gets better and better with each read.........this is certainly a book that you can go back to, a true timeless classic. recommended.
I always felt a little ambivalent about Ted Hughes, he was a rather gorgeous, louche individual and as a fan of Sylvia Plath I - unfairly - felt uncertain of him and his poetry. This book is an absolute must-have, what a revelation this poetry is of thoughtful, intelligent, incisive, lyrical poetry. Poems that stop you and leave you rolling the words in your mouth as if they were chocolate. It's a wonderful anthology, I haven't read it all, like chocolate it is something I return to again and again, an unsecret delight.
This is a huge book featuring everything Ted Hughes had written from juvilia to his death, I was very impressed by this and I have no complaints at all. It is probably one of the best books I've bought in a while.
Collected Ted Hughes is the Desert Island dream book. On the rare days when one can have some time alone with a book, this is surely the one to cradle and delve into with relish. My father reckons that poetry is the novel's poor relation. If he were to read a few of the magical works in this book, he would have to rethink his view. Hughes is the yardstick by which all poets should measure themselves. Here is the unbelievable, beautiful and magical truth - here in this book.
This was given to me as a birthday present shortly after its publication; many of my individual anthologies by Hughes are showing the signs of wear and tear, i.e. intensive reading. Although I have always had the Hughes/Plath shelf, having all his works under one cover is a new experience, making it so easy to refer across individual anthologies. Following a theme is as simply as "Stickies". This is not the place to comment on the quality, style and forms of such a vast collection of works, except to say this is a wonderful collection, well produced and edited sensibly. Although there is still a host of non-poetic works still to be collected, this is an excellent start. Highly recommended.