Re-packaging ‘percussive’ Ted Hughes

Martyn Crucefix

Anthologies are the reluctant poetry readers’ hedging bet. There’s a good chance that something good will turn up and prove a winner. They sell well – they are the infrequent poetry buyer’s punt for a gift that will please at least in parts. So Alice Oswald’s compilation of Ted Hughes’ animal poems into a Bestiary will certainly put more cash into the Faber vault. But few complaints – anything to get more people reading any poetry cannot be bad.

Ted-Hughes-001

Oswald discusses her approach to the selection in The Guardian: 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/29/ted-hughes-alice-oswald-animal-poetry-bestiary

She picks up Hughes’ own early image of his poems as creatures with a “vivid life” of their own. He condemns poems which fail to possess this coherent vitality as likely to walk with a pronounced limp – a wonderful way, I’ve found, of imaging that elusive ‘rightness’ of a poem for students and workshoppers. Interestingly though, there is a…

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