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Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,939 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
Crow was Ted Hughes's fourth book of poems for adults and a pivotal moment in his writing career. In it, he found both a structure and a persona that gave his vision a new power and coherence. A. Alvarez wrote in the Observer, 'Each fresh encounter with despair becomes the occasion for a separate, almost funny, story in which natural forces and creatures, mythic figures, e ...more
Hardcover, Faber Library Edition, 89 pages
Published February 4th 1996 by Faber and Faber (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 14, 2013 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 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Hey Crow,

With all your self-obsessed aloofness,
your lack of empathy and whimsy,
you're a misrepresentation of all crows.


Ah, well, it was only a matter of time before I crossed paths with Ted Hughes' work. Let's just say that just because something is clever, and Hughes' work is CLEVER, it doesn't mean it captures my heart? That is not its aim. Imagination? Definitely not. Interest? No, not that either.

Well, maybe with one exception:

Crow’s Account of the Battle

The cartridges were bangi
Jan 02, 2016 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
Robert Bayley
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just wanted to sprinkle my stars on this. One of the very few poets I can read without feeling self-conscious. Glorious, brutal words.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 06, 2011 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
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry, uk-ireland, 5-star
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
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 5-stars
Let me begin by saying I am not a reader of poetry. In fact, I am struggling to remember ever before reading a whole book of poems. I think the closest I have come is poetry studied as part of an English Literature 'O Level' several decades ago.

With my inexperience in mind, Crow might not be the best place to start. Perhaps Pam Ayres would be better for a novice?

I can't claim that I understood this. But I do know that I felt its power. I certainly can't claim that my life has taken me anywhere n
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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...
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I decided to give this book a "re-read" after many years. I always felt that of solitary books of poetry, it is one of the greatest published in the 20th century. If you look at it even through the prism of the 21st century, it seems as prophetic for now as it was a commentary on the past century.

It did not take me long to read the book. It is an interesting "statement" if you will, and a unique book of poetry. I've not read a collection like it before. There are about five or six poems that are
Nov 03, 2010 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
Paul Baran
May 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
James Murphy
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecka Göransdotter
Simply a great piece of poetry.
Sep 20, 2013 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)
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. I'm salty about his portrayal of women, but he's an incredible writer and Crow is a collection I'll come back to time and again.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aj Sterkel
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Crow was first published in 1970 and is considered a classic. I wanted to read it because I’d heard it was dark and violent. It also has very good ratings on Goodreads.

I guess I’m a black sheep because I kinda hated this book. The collection is about a mythological crow that causes destruction in the human world. The poems blend myth, religion, nature, and imagination. I like the strong imagery and the accessibility of the collection. The poems are pretty easy to understand. I really struggled w
Haley Wynn
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Creeping, foreboding, operatic; Crow is a collection of related poetry climbing the mountainous, mythological obstructions of religion. A satire of narratives depicting the ridiculousness of "belief", Hughes' disbelief in modern society's importance on church, and his fear of the ultimate ending: death. Ted Hughes writes prolifically and without fear, death is the end all be all; therefore, why pervert the human existence with such idle pretenses.

Only there is a doorway in the wall -
A black doo

Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5/5 - I'm not used to reading poetry, but this was right up my alley. Dark, depressingly raw, gritty,... and the character of Crow was completely fascinating.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw." - Jack Handy
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably a great work, but this just went straight over my head, so I decided to stop torturing myself.
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
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"His wings are the stiff back of his only book,
Himself the only page -- of solid ink.

So he gazes into the quag of the past,
Like a gypsy into the crystal of the future,
Like a leopard into a fat land."

(from Crowego, p54)

Another beautiful book from my favourite poet. This collection was brutal and bleak, the figure of Crow flapping through each poem sometimes with humour, sometimes with despair. It's missing its fifth star because of the way it plays around with -- and satirises -- notions of God,
Sep 02, 2013 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
Cintia Andrade
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Rosa Jamali
Jul 12, 2008 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
Jul 27, 2011 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
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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
“Man's and woman's bodies lay without souls
Dully gaping, foolishly staring, inert
On the flowers of Eden.
God pondered.

The problem was so great, it dragged him asleep.

Crow laughed.

He bit the Worm, God's only son,
Into two writhing halves.

He stuffed into man the tail half
With the wounded end hanging out.

He stuffed the head half headfirst into woman
And it crept in deeper and up
To peer out through her eyes
Calling it's tail-half to join up quickly, quickly
Because O it was painful.

Man awoke being dragged across the grass.
Woman awoke to see him coming.
Neither knew what had happened.

God went on sleeping.

Crow went on laughing.

- A Childish Prank
“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”
More quotes…