From his astonishing debut collection, Hawk in the Rain (1957), to the bestselling Birthday Letters (1998), Ted Hughes was one of postwar literature's truly prodigious poets. This remarkable volume gathers all of his published verse, from his earliest poems (published only in journals) through such groundbreaking volumes as Crow (1970), Gaudete (1977), and Tales from Ovid (1997).
Collected Poems also includes works Hughes composed exclusively for fine-press printers, poems he wrote in his capacity as England's Poet Laureate, and those children's poems he intended for adults as well. This omnium-gatherum of Hughes's work—a vast and invaluable reference for students, scholars, and all other poetry lovers—is both guided and animated throughout by a voice that, as Seamus Heaney once remarked, was "longer and deeper and rougher" than those of his contemporaries.
The book also features an insightful and far-reaching preface on the life and work of Ted Hughes by editor Paul Keegan, as well as over 130 pages of notes, indices, and appendices.
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Ted Hughes (1930-1998) produced more than forty books of poetry, prose, drama, translation, and children's literature, 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 Phedre, and Euripides' Alcestis; and Birthday Letters. He lived in Devonshire.
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Paul Keegan is poetry editor of Faber and Faber in London.