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Wolfwatching

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  74 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Wolfwatching was the fourteenth collection published by Ted Hughes (1930-98), England's former Poet Laureate. In it, we encounter several poems that feature his typically striking yet somber exactitude, a style of perception and depiction always unclouded by sentiment. Other poems find Hughes returning to the Yorkshire landscape of his childhood, recounting the tragic effe ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1989)
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saizine
I picked this one up from my uni library after coming across the title poem online (which I still love, especially He's a tarot-card, and he knows it. / He can howl all night / And dawn will pick up the same card / And see him painted on it, with eyes / Like doorframes in a desert / Between nothing and nothing.) However, while I can certainly see that this is a strong collection from a strong poet, I didn't entirely click with it - and, oddly for me, I preferred the war poems to the nature subje ...more
Mike Jensen
Still trying and failing to become a Ted Hughes fan.
Katie
Feb 06, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2011, 1980s
If you were to ask me to name my favourite poet, I would have a very hard time naming just one, as I read different people for different things. Ted Hughes, I read primarily for his nature poetry which illuminates creatures and landscapes that I see all the time with a clarity and accuracy which make me see them in a new way.

Wolfwatching is a collection of poems which divides fairly evenly into the nature poems that I love so much and poems about Hughes’ father and their relationship. I personal
...more
Courtney Johnston
A small collection, which seems to have themes of loss and waste and imprisonment - a child's ever-weeping mother, a greyed wolf in a London zoo, the scars (mental and physical) of the First World War. It leaves a taste of sadness and condemnation in your mouth, but is still full of beauty, whether it's the close observation of animals or humans. From 'Source' (the final third of the poem):

... Your tears didn't care.
They'd come looking for you
Wherever you sat alone. They would find you
(Just as I
...more
Kanwal Mukhtar
Ann Skea tells us:
"Of all the symbols which Hughes uses, the wolf is almost unique in the lasting power of its attraction for him, in the ambiguity of its nature as he describes it, and in the way in which he extends the scope of its symbolism from personal to universal applicability. Hughes's wolves embody the contradictory qualities of the natural energies: they have beauty of form, an economical directness of function, the instinctive voracity of appetite for which wolves are renowned, and a
...more
Jaimie
Jan 04, 2014 Jaimie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hughes' poetry once again tends towards brutality and violence, but this collection seems to be centred around the effects of war rather than the primeval/mythopoetic world. I would assume that Hughes himself or his father went to war because the recurring shell-shocked father character is extremely believable. Though that could have been just good research or empathy. It being centred on war, I didn't connect with this collection as much as Crow, but there were definitely some good poems. I rea ...more
John Eliot
Nov 03, 2015 John Eliot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great poet, no doubt. I loved the poems within this collection that where about his family, particuarly his father. Others I found too wordy such has The Black Rhinoceros.
Dave
Apr 14, 2015 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very hit and miss in my opinion. Some of these are great, but not many.
Kent
May 15, 2008 Kent rated it really liked it
I am always interested in reading poems that portray the unity of nature and humanity. And Hughes is so quick with it here. Even among lines that I find incredibly awkward ("rocks sticking through their moss jerseys"), the intent and faith in that larger idea is so clear, and I am fascinated by the intelligence advancing it. Maybe one of my favorite images is the father guiding his family through the battlefield where he had been shot and almost killed. Or the poem about the soul of Adam being g ...more
Kristin
Apr 16, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Though this isn't my favorite work of Hughes's, I didn't dislike it quite as much as some of the other reviewers on here seem to. If it lacks in the color of Birthday Letters or the monolithic nature of Crow, Hughes is still, in my opinion, a strong poet, and that comes through in certain parts of this text. I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a first book to read by him, but I don't feel that the short time I spent with it was at all a waste.
David Weller
Aug 15, 2012 David Weller rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Especially English contemporary poetry fans
A free-flowing read, with several memorable poems. The best ones were the ones that touched me deeply about the plight of our natural state. There were also several thoughtful letters on the veterans of wars. Most of the rest of the poems were oblique in meaning and I didn't find much value in them.
I could definitely see from this first reading of Hughes that he has that spark of talent the can spring deeply-felt renderings of the state of our world today.
Natasha
Mar 19, 2016 Natasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I have to admit that I don't really have a clue about poetry so i can't really judge if this book was good or not, but I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other poetry I've read so I'll give it a three :)
Rob the Obscure
There are some really great poems in this collection. Hughes tends to help one understand the world, and his/her place in it, at another level.

There are some pretty darn good poems here.

There are some that are overwrought.

However, this collection is not a waste of time. It's been out a looooong time. But if you hadn't seen it (like me), it's worth a look.
Chris Lilly
Feb 22, 2013 Chris Lilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
When Hughes pegs his vision to an observed reality: "Wolfwatching", "Black Rhino", the last sequence of poems reflecting Mytholmroyd (which is a real Yorkshire mill town and a place that starts with 'myth'. Wow.)he is a magnificent poet. When he offers his fables about god and Adam and stuff, I find him really annoying. But when he gets it right, he is wonderful.
Courtney
Jun 22, 2010 Courtney rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
i picked this up from the cover, and my belief, not worth my fact-checking, that ted hughes was once the poet laureate of great britain.

it was just okay. i was drawn in by a good poem about his father's non-reaction to PTSD. i never understood the wolves.
Hollis
Jun 20, 2009 Hollis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Not his best work in my opinion, although it's still better than 90% of the poetry that gets published in Britain today.
Jeff
Feb 22, 2009 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I'm a fan of Ted Hughes, but this isn't his best. Maybe age was catching up with him.
Jim
Apr 26, 2016 Jim rated it liked it
Powerful poems, although not as accessible as Billy Collins or Seamus Heaney.
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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
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