Jeremy Noel-Tod on Ted Hughes in the new Oxford Poetry:
In December 1969, Hughes comments that he is ‘half-inclined to suspect [Crow]’, but has decided to publish it on the grounds that it is ‘my masterpiece. Insofar as I can manage a likeness of a masterpiece.’ Crow’s likeness to a masterpiece is just what maims it: a pseudo-Modernist ‘super-crude’ experiment in lyre-smashing that pales beside the elegant revolutions of Hughes’s contemporaries (Veronica Forrest-Thomson definitively establishes the distance between Hughes and Prynne and Ashbery at this time in her book Poetic Artifice (1978)). The Crow poems were the apotheosis and implosion of everything that had made Hughes the Eng. Lit. equivalent of free school milk: symbolic animals, prosaic morals and nutritional alliteration.
Other nutritional prose by John Redmond, Chris Fenwick and Andrew Duncan, and poetry by Stephen Burt, David Constantine, George Szirtes, Peter McDonald, Andrew McNeillie and others. Read more here.