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Wolfwatching

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  13 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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Katie
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
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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
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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
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Jaimie
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
Kent
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
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
Not his best work in my opinion, although it's still better than 90% of the poetry that gets published in Britain today.
Jeff
I'm a fan of Ted Hughes, but this isn't his best. Maybe age was catching up with him.
Mike Jensen
Still trying and failing to become a Ted Hughes fan.
Martin
Martin marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Roshan
Roshan added it
Feb 24, 2014
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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
More about Ted Hughes...
Birthday Letters The Iron Man: A Children's Story in Five Nights Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library) Collected Poems Letters of Ted Hughes

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