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4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,949 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
The hero of Ted Hughes's Crow is a creature of mythic proportions. Ferocious, bleak, full of anarchic energy and violent comedy, Crow's story is one of the literary landmarks of our time.
Paperback, 84 pages
Published June 28th 1971 by Harper & Row (first published 1970)
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Greg This book has all the specific poems you mention except "Cock-Crows." I don't see any poem in the book with that exact title.

My copy has 66 poems in…more
This book has all the specific poems you mention except "Cock-Crows." I don't see any poem in the book with that exact title.

My copy has 66 poems in it; so the 5 poems you mention are a fairly small selection. This wasn't my favorite Hughes collection though; so I could've certainly done without reading them all. That's mostly a matter of personal taste. I do feel like some of them were repetitive.(less)
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Paul Bryant
Aug 18, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

Suicide of Ted Hughes’s wife Sylvia Plath, 1963
Suicide of Ted Hughes’ current partner Assia Wevill, 1969
Publication of Crow, 1970

This is the context for the screeching brutality, ugliness and relentless howling nastiness of Crow and its picture of humanity as the scraping of nails on the blackboard of creation and consciousness as worse than anthrax.

Crow is really severe stuff.

Crow is horror poetry.

When Crow cried his mother’s ear
Scorched to a stump.

In the poems, Crow is many things – s
Jan 09, 2016 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection. What can I say? It's beautiful, and one that I really want to re-read very soon, because I feel like each reading will bring me a brand new experience.

I'd never read any of Ted Hughes poetry before, and frankly I have fallen in love. Never have I experienced such a dark, gritty collection. The poems in this collection for the most part follow the character of Crow, who is grotesque, horrific, yet not unfeeling at certain points. There was a lot of very dark humour in this collec
May 15, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Crow is a ferocious little myth-ball chucked at our prosaically slumped world. In each poem you hear the ball strike and echo against all the cells in the dungeon. Hughes uses simple language throughout and mixes eloquent harangue with blackened charges of despair. This is supremely beautiful, passionate, and raw poetry--which is to say: the best sort of poetry.
Taylor Findlay
Jan 09, 2016 Taylor Findlay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
***4.5 Starts***

I read CROW in preparation to start GREIF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS by Max Porter. However, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and not just because it set me up for my next read.

Each poem evokes something vile and dark, pulling from anything from myths to (largely) religion. The Crow symbolises so many things throughout this collection - death, satan, evil, etc. - that I found myself reminiscing over the parts of PARADISE LOST I have read, not that they can be compared at all.

Absolutely s
Mar 18, 2016 Nyma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
زاغی: از زندگی و ترانه های زاغی

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دوستان عزیز اهل شعر
مجموعه اشعار زاغی با ترجمه ی علی بهروزی (پدر بنده) اخیرا توسط انتشارات نوپای «فنجان» با طراحی و صفحه بندی بسیار مرتب و تمیزی به چاپ رسیده است. صرفاً برا علاقمندان بخشی از پیشگفتار مترجم را، که هم قلم انداز به تفسیر این شعرها می پردازد و هم به چالش های ترجمه کردن آنها اشاره می کند، در این جا می آورم.

[اشعار زاغی] مرا به یاد لطیفهای میاندازند که در باب یکی از همشهریان من کوک کردهاند. از این همشهری من میپرسند:
ــ ابوالهول را میشناسی؟
ــ آره. هممحلی
Dec 19, 2007 Xio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
February 17th

A lamb could not get born. Ice wind
Out of a downpour dishclout sunrise. The mother
Lay on the muddied slope. Harried, she got up
And the blackish lump bobbed at her back-end
Under her tail. After some hard galloping,
Some manoeuvering, much flapping of the backward
Lump head of the lamb looking out,
I caught her with a rope. Laid her, head uphill
And examined the lamb. A blood-ball swollen
Tight in its black felt, its mouth gap
Squashed crooked, tongue stuck out, black-purple,
Strangled by it
Feb 20, 2014 Benito rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the finest cycle of poetry I've ever read - warm, meaty, harsh and cawing likes it's title suggests. Bullets wouldn't cut through this fleshy example of what one could do with verse, just don't forget to turn the gas off...
In all honesty, this was just okay for me. I'm sure it's worthy of a 5 star rating, as it feels like a masterpiece of poetry. Unfortunately most of it went over my head.
May 27, 2014 Terence rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Ted Hughes’ The Crow was a mixed bag for me. Some poems went right over my head no matter how many times I would read them. Others read like pretentious claptrap. But then there were a handful that I enjoyed reading, like “Crow Goes Hunting”:

Decided to try words.

He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack –
Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,
With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot.

He pointed out the hare and away went the words
Crow was Crow without fail, but
Paul Baran
May 20, 2007 Paul Baran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: AK
In native American culture in particular, the Crow was seen as the eternal trickster, even a figure of malice in the forms of the Universe. In this pivitol collection, Hughes appropriates the Crow's mythic role and uses it as a mocking narrator to journey the horrors of the Twentieth Century, including the repressive events of Eastern Europe and the violent incursion of technology and post industrialisation into nature's den. There is a sadism in these poems, that initially arrests the reader, b ...more
Nov 03, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read poetry, but I enjoyed this strange little book by Ted Hughes. It's full of dark imagery, violence and unexpected humour. The poems read like myths of the origins of the world, except that at the middle of them all is Crow, this anarchic, chaotic, ugly, violent figure, playing tricks on God and turning creation upside-down.

I was reminded of the Anansi figure in West Indian Folk Tales, himself of course of West African origin. I suspect Hughes drew on a lot of mythological sources in
Dec 24, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, poetry
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only member of the Crow Appreciation Society in my immediate circle of friends and colleagues. They just don’t get crows/corvids in general, most people don’t. So, (truncated in a spoiler for those who can’t be bothered to read) off the top of my head, five reasons why crows should finally get a little respect from you peasants:
(view spoiler)
Jun 08, 2011 Kasandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crow From the life and songs of the crow by Ted Hughes

One of those "classics" I'd not yet gotten around to reading, this is an amazingly dark and intense book, full of surreal and haunting imagery, but not without wry humor. It contains real horror and real emotion, and is mostly spoken in the voice of "Crow", who feels like a cross between a dark/negative Holy Ghost and a primal energy of the death that resides in all life -- not God, but a god, one who's ultimately a reflection of all that is egotistical, ugly, unconscious, on the edge of sanity
Rosa Jamali
May 08, 2010 Rosa Jamali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book has been dedicated to the memory of Assia Wevill and her child Shura. I think Assia Wevill was really a challenging dramatic figure we can't ignore. The book starts with a poem called "Two Legends" I suppose these two legends are the legends of Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill. The second legend is much darker and more tragic. A woman who commits suicide seven years after Plath's death and kills her child not to leave a trace. I think she was charming and impressive who caused the loss of ...more
Cintia Andrade
Feb 10, 2016 Cintia Andrade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poesia
Uma pessoa aqui nos comentários disse "Crow is horror poetry", e eu não poderia concordar mais. "Crow" é uma coleção de poemas terrivelmente tristes, sombrios, devastadores (e lindíssimos). Vou deixar vocês com um dos meus preferidos, uma ponderação na porta do útero:

Examination at the Womb-Door

Who owns those scrawny little feet? Death.
Who owns this bristly scorched-looking face? Death.
Who owns these still-working lungs? Death.
Who owns this utility coat of muscles? Death.
Who owns these unspeakab
Aug 21, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw." - Jack Handy
Most of the poems in this collection center on a mythical-like character named Crow, a guy who resembles that feathery fellow cleaning up the mess our cars leave on the roads (thanks, Crow). In Hughes' vision, Crow is a bit like a trickster, a naughty god, at times funny, at times evil, at times annoying. Loki in black, maybe?

Although the interconnected poems never gather narrative force, they do manage a bit more momentum than collections of random poetry. The language is spare, at times inform
Jan 02, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry, 4-star, uk-ireland
Publisher's Note

--Two Legends
--Examination at the Womb-door
--A Kill
--Crow and Mama
--The Door
--A Childish Prank
--Crow's First Lesson
--Crow Alights
--That Moment
--Crow Hears Fate Knock on the Door
--Crow Tyrannosaurus
--Crow's Account of the Battle
--The Black Beast
--A Grin
--Crow Communes
--Crow's Account of St George
--A Disaster
--The Battle of Osfrontalis
--Crow's Theology
--Crow's Fall
--Crow and the Birds
--Criminal Ballad
--Crow on the Beach
--The Contender
--Oedipus Crow
--Crow's Vanity
--A Horrib
Feb 17, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Top Shelf review, originally published in The Monitor

Dark, Tragic Verse

Fifty years ago, poet Sylvia Plath killed herself by sealing the kitchen off from her two sleeping children, switching on the gas and sticking her head in the oven. She had separated from her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, seven months earlier when she learned he was having an affair. Hughes called her suicide “the end of [his] life,” but that darkness was compounded further when Assia Wevill, his lover, killed herself and t
Feb 27, 2008 minnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Everywhere there is desolation, pain and human despair, there is Crow perched, laughing, musing on all around him. An ancient force like some commentator on creation.These poems are harsh but also have black humour, and with each reading I found myself understanding them better.

Crow's Song Of Himself

When God hammered Crow
He made gold
When God roasted Crow in the sun
He made diamond
When God crushed Crow under weights
He made alcohol
When God tore Crow to pieces
He made money
When God blew Crow up
He mad
Lauren Owens
Okay.. . Okay... I didn't understand a lot of it. It isn't linear. I've only read through once... but i liked it? I like the imagery and how some of it rolls off the tongue.

Also 'Apple Tragedy' is absolute chaos and i loved it?
James Murphy
Sep 01, 2015 James Murphy rated it it was amazing
A reread.

All the poems in Crow are in a stark, bold typescript that flies off the page at you and suit the thunderous poetry about the wild trickster of existence written by a poet who himself had godlike looks and talent. Hughes's language is incantatory, aggressive, and riveting. The language struts like you'd expect Crow to strut after having scared the dawn away or found some deliciously foul meal. I've read this several times. In the same way I do with Eliot, I have to occasionally touch ba
Feb 05, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crow is a hallucinatory combination of Native American myths, ancient Greek fables, Old and New Testament stories, and Hughes' animal imagery. The collection is loosely centered on the figure of Crow, but the breath of styles and themes is very wide. To me, the figure of Crow seemed a sort of trickster/scavenger personification of poetry itself, tearing apart and refashioning the world in black ink. Anyway, I enjoyed this, but maybe not as much as some of Hughes' other volumes, particularly Hawk ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Ming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here Hughes proudly owns up to the strong forceful rhetorical quality that pervaded his earlier poems, and decides to create a new mythology. This lends him several advantages. One, he has found a form that is perfectly suited to his impulse for metaphorical gymnastics. Two, he's acquitted of having to write poems which are personal/emotional/precise - his poems need only be buoyed by a fable-like quality (which is not difficult to create or sustain) because that's what suits the premise of this ...more
Jul 05, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A powerful work in which every poem reads like a howl of anguish from the earth's very bowels of despair, Crow is a bloody, brutal and beautiful collection. Published in 1970, six years after Hughes' first wife, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide, and one year after his second wife, Assia Wevill, also committed suicide (and killed their four-year old daughter at the same time), the book is shot through with imagery of death, blood, destruction, foulness and blackness. The sequence features the char ...more
Justin Martin
Jan 05, 2016 Justin Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-to-teach
Um, okay. This thing is atomic. Calling it a "poetry set" elevates that entire medium single-handed. A lot of poetry that attempts narrative finds that one or the other of those aspects becomes parasitic - plot that gets in the way of language or vice-versa, so you end up less with narrative poetry proper and more with a watery, gross form of each. This thing, in addition to being a creation myth, in addition to being breathlessly funny, is seamless - the verses fuel the narrative and the narrat ...more
Danny Daley
Crow is one of Hughes' most iconic collections. Bleak, fully exposed, Crow's story must be Hughes' story as he wrote these poems in the years following the suicide of his wife (famed poet Sylvia Plath). Most of the poems center around Crow as the central character, some literally in reference to crow as a black bird, others clearly making use of metaphor.

I loved 10 or 12 of these poems. They angst and longing seep through the pages. I found a great many of the poems to be a bit dull in their use
Sep 24, 2014 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2014
Bleak wordplay.

"I will measure it all and own it all
And I will be inside it
As inside my own laughter"

"weeping he walked and stabbed"

"He knew he was the wrong listener unwanted
To understand or help
His utmost gaping of brain in his tiny skull
Was just enough to wonder, about the sea
what could be hurting so much?"

"he shuddered out of himself he got so naked"

"he laughed himself to the center of himself"

"we are here, we are here
He is the long waiting for something
to use him for some everything"

Rich Law
Oct 12, 2014 Rich Law rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read Sylvia Plath's "Ariel", a collection written in the months before her suicide. If Ariel is all about the individual without hope, then "Crow" represents the hopelessness of humanity.

This is poetry like brutalist architecture: it's ugly, dark, and stripped to the bone. Birth is death, screams are laughter, and it's all sinews and guts. Critics have often commented that there is a dark humour on display here, but I didn't find anything to make chuckle. "Crow" is poetry for the apoc
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Edward James Hughes was an English poet and children's writer, known as Ted Hughes. His most characteristic verse is without sentimentality, emphasizing the cunning and savagery of animal life in harsh, sometimes disjunctive lines.

The dialect of Hughes's native West Riding area of Yorkshire set the tone of his verse. At Pembroke College, Cambridge, he found folklore and anthropology of particular
More about Ted Hughes...

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“In the beginning was Scream
Who begat Blood
Who begat Eye
Who begat Fear
Who begat Wing
Who begat Bone
Who begat Granite
Who begat Violet
Who begat Guitar
Who begat Sweat
Who begat Adam
Who begat Mary
Who begat God
Who begat Nothing
Who begat Never
Never Never Never

Who begat Crow

Screaming for Blood
Grubs, crusts

Trembling featherless elbows in the nest's filth”
“Black was the without eye
Black the within tongue
Black was the heart
Black the liver, black the lungs
Unable to suck in light
Black the blood in its loud tunnel
Black the bowels packed in furnace
Black too the muscles
Striving to pull out into the light
Black the nerves, black the brain
With its tombed visions
Black also the soul, the huge stammer
Of the cry that, swelling, could not
Pronounce its sun.”
More quotes…