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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Narrative, 3 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Birthday Letters (Paperback)
" There you met it-the mystery of hatred.
After billions of years of anonymous matter
That was where you were found-promptly hated".

from " God Help the Wolf After Whom the Dogs Do Not Bark".

There are many ways to approach the poems in this collection. For example you could experience them as I often I do, as stand alone poems. On other occasions a narrative which needs to be taken in all at once. Or you can read it like a novel or even a film script as there is something very filmic about this collection which represent a seamless unfolding of Hughes' relationship with Plath. From inauspicious and "kitchen-sink" type meeting:

"Which of them I might meet.
I remember the thought. Not
Your face. No doubt I scanned particularly
The girls. Maybe I noticed you.
Maybe I weighed you up, feelingly unlikely.
Noted your long hair, loose waves-
Your Veronica Lake bang. Not what it hid.
It would appear blond. And your grin"

from "Fulbright Scholars"

To the bitter, some would say furious anger of their last years where Hughes portrays Sylvia Plath as an emotional invalid:

"You were the jailer of your murderer-
Which imprisoned you
And since I was your nurse and your protector
Your sentence was mine to"

from "The Blackbird".

As with all Hughes work there are many powerful animal metaphors to some up emotional situations, but the imagery as with the "The Blackbird" becomes bleaker and darker as the poems progress. It is in my mind one long narrative poem punctuated in chapters, written in verse. And frightening making one feel almost as a voyeur witnessing a very personal and uncompromising autobiography.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Aug 2011, 10:00:30 BST
S. Millar says:
Dean,

Thanks for the review. Did you get your copy through Amazon? If so, was it the 1999 edition (flowers on cover) or the 2002 edition (plain cover)? Sorry for asking such a un-related-to-Hughes question, but there seems to be some confusion on the website.

Thanks,

Simon

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2011, 14:34:31 BST
Dean Cowan says:
No I have a library copy which I have renewed at least three times. It is the 1999 edition with the flowers.

Did you like the review by the way?

Dean
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Location: Manchester UK

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