An episode from 10/3/22: Over the course of forty years, Ted Hughes (1930-1998) wrote some of the best poetry of the twentieth (or any) century. Tonight, I read twelve of Hughes’s essential poems, where we see his primal concerns—the violence but also beauty of nature and animal life; mythology and religion; and his own autobiography—expressed in language as powerful as any that has ever been written. The poems are:
- Wind (from the Hawk in the Rain, 1957)
- Six Young Men (from the Hawk in the Rain, 1957)
- Crow’s Song About God (from Crow, 1970-71)
- “I skin the skin” (from Gaudete, 1977)
- A Green Mother (from Cave Birds, 1978)
- Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days (from Cave Birds, 1978)
- Cock-Crows (from Remains of Elmet, 1979)
- Rain (from Moortown Diary, 1979)
- February 17th (from Moortown Diary, 1979)
- Four March Watercolours (from River, 1983)
- October Salmon (from River, 1983)
- Life After Death (from Birthday Letters, 1998)
- This is followed by a reading Hughes gave of his poem, “October Salmon.”
Other episodes on Hughes include one where he discusses privacy for his family in the wake of Sylvia Plath’s posthumous fame; another where he discusses how he discovered poetry; and another, much longer episode of readings from Hughes’s poetry.
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