What think you of Ted Hughes?

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In my literary youth I listened to a recording of Hughes reading his poems, including this one:

What will you make of half a man
Half a face
A ripped edge

His one-eyed waking
Is the shorn sleep of aftermath

His vigour
The bone-deformity of consequences

His talents
The deprivations of escape

How will you correct
The veteran of negatives
And the survivor of cease?

Back in my teens I would go along with anything, but even so that one didn't work for me. (Better than this though.) Also, "shorn sleep" was so close to "shorn sheep" that it ruined the effect, and I was sure that's where Hughes got it.

Sean O'Brien wrote an essay about Hughes going off the rails for a while with respect to diction. I've read Orghast at Persepolis which was about some pretty strange stuff.

alimosina, Thursday, 21 January 2016 20:18 (seven years ago) link

six years pass...

The Iron Man is described as being taller than a house, his head is as large as a bedroom and his feet are as large as a bed. So when he falls down the cliff and smashes into pieces on the beach, how come a seagull can pick up one of his eyes and a hand?

the man with the chili in his eyes (ledge), Friday, 26 August 2022 13:13 (one year ago) link

Because the first set of impossibilities you cited implies room for further impossibilities?

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 26 August 2022 18:11 (one year ago) link

A deeply unsatisfying answer for many reasons.

Anyway despite that minor editorial inconsistency I'm glad that this book is as unique and captivating as I remembered. and that our 6 year old seems quite taken with it too.

the man with the chili in his eyes (ledge), Friday, 26 August 2022 18:47 (one year ago) link

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