Ted Hughes: 12 Essential Poems

Ted Hughes: 12 Essential Poems Human Voices Wake Us

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.”

Hughes’s poetry can be found in his Collected Poems. Smaller selections include Selected Poems 1957-1994 and A Ted Hughes Bestiary. In this episode I also read from The Letters of Ted Hughes

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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2 Comments Add yours

  1. In my youth I truly believed that if Ted Hughes had met me, he would have had a happier life. A crush on him from Hawaii!!!

    1. Tim Miller says:

      if only he had done a book of poems from Hawaii!

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