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Collected Poems Hardcover – November 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0374125387 ISBN-10: 0374125384 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The main details of Hughes's life are well-known: after his National Service with the RAF, the dashing poet marries the brilliant American Sylvia Plath in 1954, and becomes an instant celebrity with the publication of Hawk in the Rain in 1957. While "The Thought-Fox" scampers its way into numberless anthologies, he publishes the poems of Lupercal (1960) and Wodwo (1967), where he treats his own voice as a force of nature, threaded through a violent animism. His wife and his lover die by suicide. He makes a major artistic breakthrough with the widely praised sequence Crow (1971), which draws on his deep knowledge of English folklore, and sacrifices, for a kind of Zarathustrian bluntness, all lingering traces of formalism (though blank verse and ballad would continue to be favored methods). He writes plays and several children's books, and becomes poet laureate in 1984, publishing a surprisingly good book of civic verse, Rain Charm for the Duchy, in 1992. His final volume, Birthday Letters, is a conflicted, front-page-news-making account of his relationship with Plath. This enormous, rewarding compendium contains all of the above as well as numerous poems that were previously uncollected (such as the lovely, Williams-y miniature "Snail" and the long "Scapegoat and Rabies," an indictment of the soldier culture that partly shaped Hughes); the entirety of his acclaimed Tales from Ovid; Hughes's appendices to the books as originally published; and copious bibliographic notes. Hughes is already canonical in Great Britain, and this volume, with its resolutely undomesticated bestiary, will mark out permanent space on the shelves of U.S. readers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lauded as a poetic genius and demonized for the suicide of his poet wife, Sylvia Plath, Hughes remains a controversial and compelling figure, one deserving of the serious attention this mammoth first collected edition of his poems demands. Precocious and ambitious, Hughes began winning literary awards with his debut collection, The Hawk in the Rain (1957), thanks to Plath's encouragement. Earthy and mystical and steeped in folklore and myth, Hughes wrote lush and confident nature poems until Plath's death, after which his poetry turned spare and wary. In Crow (1970), for instance, images of fallen trees, shrunken forms, camouflage, sickness, and stasis abound, followed by the torment of Prometheus on His Crag (1973). But slowly the prolific and irrepressible Hughes regained his artistic grounding, and ultimately created a great treasury of original and exalted works, finally addressing his intense relationship with Plath in his final book, Birthday Letters (1998), a resounding collection that stunned the literary world. Supported with extensive notes, this definitive volume brings Hughes into crisp focus as a complex and major poet. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1376 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (November 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374125384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374125387
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By David Scott Goen on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ted Hughes has been reviled for over four decades for his part in the life and death of the poet Sylvia Plath. So strong is her mythology that many have relegated Hughes to a minor role, a bit player, in her epic tragedy. Plath was an astonishing and powerful poet. In the end she became one of the best poets of the twentieth century. So did her one-time husband.
Ted Hughes evidently had a great many faults both specifically as a man and more generally as a human being. This book has nothing to do with that, for either good or bad. Anyone familiar with the private lives of such artists as James Joyce and Picasso already know that artistic greatness does not guarantee moral greatness. We rightly celebrate their work.
This book collects the work of someone who touched greatness many times over a long and distinguished career. It includes not only the "official" editions originally published by Faber and Faber, but also work from literary journals and small-press editions. It is a volume from which Hughes work volcanically erupts, rather than develop in small increments.
"Crow" is one of the great cycle of poems in the English language. At last we can see other poems that both led to and came after this landmark work. Hughes revisited and revised throughout his career, and this volume does not cheat us of this growth. There are poems with the same content but possessing different names. There are poems with the same name but different contents. All have their place in the lexicon presented here.
Ted Huges was much more than "Mr. Plath." An accomplished poet, a skilled translator, a visionary, Ted Hughes' work transcends Ted Hughes. We must celebrate his work and let it take its place amongst the other great works of our times. Revisit what you may have already known of his poems. Discover the work that is new and glorious to you. And know that one may transcend personal limitations and achieve greatness.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dee on March 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ted Hughes "Collected" should not be missed by anyone who loves poetry and wants a base of inexhaustible grist for their "mill".

Incredibly, some, including apparently a well meaning reviewer here for Amazon have come to see Ted Hughes as adjunct in importance to his one time wife, Sylvia Plath..."Mr. Plath"?! Please! For the poet in the know this is a laugher!...Sylvia was a bright shining star, but history will note that she could never eclipse her one time husband in either sphere or poetical influence...Hughes work in the realm of the meta-physical animal world around us, which Sylvia tried at times to dabble in is only equaled by poets like Jim Dickey, Don Hall, or Bob Frost.

The "Crow" cycle as has been mentioned elsewhere is incredible and mind blowing for those who stumble upon it for the first time...Hughes Crow work included completely here, reads like passages from a second Bible. You can see the timeless quality in this and all of Hughes work that will continue to influence poets down the road...

Don't miss his work on the "Jaguar" and even his juvenalia work is outstanding...

If you're a poet who wants wood for his fire, there isn't anything smaller here than heavy cedar. Go for your kindling elsewhere..This sterling collection of poems I highly recommend will cook up for you a bonfire of images and ideas that won't fail to keep you warm on a cold winter's night while they send a cool chill down your spine on a hot summer's day...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reader and Writer on December 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Without a doubt the best thing I've read in half a year. A keeper, a gem, a wealth between covers. What a book. What a writer. His flow, rhythm, depth, lilt, phrasing are unequalled by any contemporary writer I know. He was a great, great writer and this book does justice to his memory.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Newlove on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For me Hughes is the great poet of the past century and perhaps the greatest since Wild Bill Shakespeare. The sooner you get into this BIG book the sooner you will enter a place where language lifts into spirit and all your received ideas about poetry blow away. In English, Hart Crane took the first step at creating a music that rides above mere meaning where words gather force from their magnetic auras. I am reminded of Beethoven who wrote back to a musician complaining of the difficulty of his writing, Do you think I think of your wretched fiddle when I write my music? Beside Hughes, Crane now seems stiff and over-varnished. In Hughes words enter a quantum universe, are never in the same place twice, and forever split open with fresh bursts of meaning. Even so you have to get past the early stuff (as with Shakespeare's early history plays) to find Hughes at hurricane force.

Let me recommend as well his translations of Greek and Roman plays and his Phedre where his lines rip away all musty classicism and slap your imagination to life: you are just born and learning to taste with the tongues of the ancients.

Note in the other reviews here how Hughes loosens the reviewers' chains and urges them to dance on coals and burn their feet in service to the Goddess.

BUY THIS BOOK.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kyle C. Foley on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
a creative poet, one whose syntactical leaps into innovation forever shine and shock-thrill, an aggressive poet, one who breeds the leopard, who polishes the claw, who is quite willing to gash, hate-slice and bedevil. known for having encouraged silvia plath to allow her ear to be bitten on their first date - his odd love poems in some of his first collection of poetry a gem-marvel into obscurity and tangled emotion. he is a brilliant surveyor of the jungle of irrationality - truly entertaining in his blush with the minotaur of tradition, a mangled mind of pure scourge and lava.

author of Lorelei Pursued and Wrestles with God
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