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The Hawk in the Rain: Poems Paperback – January 1, 1968

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Editorial Reviews


"All looking for the emergence of a major poet must buy [this book]." --Robin Skelton

About the Author

The British poet, translator, author, and critic Ted Hughes, born in 1930, wrote more than forty books, including, in the last decade of his life, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being; Tales from Ovid; verse adaptations of Aeschylus's Oresteia, Racine's Phèdre, and Euripedes' Alcestis; and the bestselling Birthday Letters. Hughes served as Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II from 1984 until his death in 1998.

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From a writer of delicate and incandescent prose, "The Evening Chorus" offers a beautiful, spare examination of the natural world and the human heart. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 60 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (January 1, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571086144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571086146
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,774,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JPH on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book should not be out of print. Besides his more recent translations (interpretations) of greek and latin texts and the recent collection "Birthday Letters," this may be Hughes' best work. It was his first volume published, and while volumes to follow, such as "Crow" and "Gaudette," descended into a fabricated landscape, this volume derives it's subject matter powerfully and beautifully from, primarily, the natural world. Hughes' renown as a depictor of the natural world is made evident as deserved here more than any other volume he produced. As the first publised work of a masterful and recently deceased poet, this work should still be in print. Find it if you can.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is Hughes' first collection and with it he made his reputation as a strong observer of nature. His verse is vibrant with observation of the fierce animal- rich world. His focus is away from the human and certainly away from personal relationships. His language is richly metaphoric and original. There is a toughness in his voice and a lurking sense of violence everywhere. At times he seems to enter the skin of the animals he writes about and feel and see the world as they do.
He writes of 'The Thought- Fox' and 'The Jaguar' and 'The Horses'.
I recognize the value of his work and his originality but it is fundamentally not congenial to my interests or my soul.

Here is the opening stanza of his poem 'The Jaguar'

"The apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun.
The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut
Like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.
Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion..."

And its concluding stanza.

"More than to the visionary his cell:
His stride is wildernesses of freedom
The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel.
Over the cage floor the horizons come."
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Format: Paperback
Ted Hughes, at age 27, made a powerful impression with his first book of poems, cutting against a tendency to the "genteel" that even in 1957 was a kind of hangover from Georgian verse. (Larkin's turn against that tendency was no less impressive, but very different). Hughes's interest in nature, and his clear sighted vision of the violence in it, are powerfully manifest here. There's even, in a poem like "The Thought-Fox," the suggestion that the ferally natural is part of us, even of our inner and supposedly "intellectual" lives. The poems that focus on natural creatures outside the self -- like the title poem and "The Horses" -- have a cosmic reach, as if the energies that drive the world are manifest everywhere -- in rain, storm, sunrise, even in the stillness of the horses (as much as the pacing of the jaguar in another poem). In human terms, the capacity for violent aggrandizement is well-caught in "The Dove Breeder." More poignant are "Griefs for Dead Soldiers" and "Six Young Men" -- poems that hark back to World War 1, the war in the shadow of which Hughes was a child in the 1930's. The poems that focus on human relationships are, not surprisingly, about tensions and struggles. All in all, it's not comfortable poetry -- this isn't Wordsworth's Nature, but it has affinities to Hopkins in its energy and to Coleridge in its visionary power. "Famous Poet" could be a sardonic take on "Kubla Khan." The writing is powerful and original -- there's nothing second-hand or formulaic about it. You don't have to like it, but you should engage it if you're at all interested in what poetry is capable of.
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