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Publications by Ted Hughes: Major Trade Editions

Last update: 28-viii-2005 (minor corrections,
further contents listings)

Note: The present list is chronological by year of 1st publication. Publications intended or suitable for children have been marked with a small For Children.

   

The Fifties:

1957

The Hawk in the Rain.

London: Faber & Faber, 1957;
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957.
Contents »

Ted Hughes's first collection of poems including such classics as »The Thought-Fox«, »The Hawk in the Rain«, »The Jaguar« and »Wind«. Reading this book side by side with later collections makes apparent that this book presents a very young Hughes.

See also The Achievement of Ted Hughes.
See also Collected Poems.

   

The Sixties:

1960

Lupercal.

London: Faber & Faber, 1960;
New York: Harper & Row, 1960.
Contents »

Lupercal collected such poems as »Hawk Roosting«, »The Bull Moses«, »View of a Pig«, »An Otter«, »Thrushes« and »Pike«. The title refers to the Roman fertility festival of the Lupercalia, held on February 15.

See also Ann Skea's essay »Wolf Masks«, accessible on her site. [On-line essay]
See also The Achievement of Ted Hughes.
See also Collected Poems.

  

1961

Meet My Folks! For Children

Illustrated by George Adamson. London: Faber & Faber, 1961;
Illustrated by Mila Lazarevich. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.

Contents »

Ted Hughes's first children's book. It is dedicated to Frieda, Sylvia's and Ted's then newly born daughter. It is a book of heavily-rhyming poems in which Hughes describes imagined family members. Over the years Meet My Folks! has undergone revision in that poems where added to and dropped from it. Thus, the first American edition has the additional poems »My Uncle Mick«, »My Aunt Flo«, »My Granny« and »My Own True Family« while »My Grandpa« and »Grandma« have been dropped. The Faber paperback edition has the additional poem »My Fairy Grandmother«.

See also Poetry in the Making (entry below).
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

  

1963

How the Whale Became and Other Stories. For Children

Illustrated by George Adamson. London: Faber & Faber, 1963;
Illustrated by Rick Schreiter. New York: Atheneon, 1964.
Illustrated by Jackie Morris. London: Faber & Faber, 2000.

Contents »

The first collection of stories and creation tales for children. Its genesis goes back to the fifties (!) since when versions of it had repeatedly been rejected by publishers. It may be for that reason, that some of its stories are much like a mix of Aesopian fables and Kipling's Just So Stories while others point to the genuine direction of Hughes's later Creation tales. The book contains such classic tales for children as »How the Whale Became« and »How the Bee Became«. It is also available as an AudioBook.

See also Tales of the Early World and The Dreamfighter below. All the Creation Tales from these two volumes and How the Whale Became have been collected in the Collected Creation Tales, which is also titled The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales.

  

The Earth-Owl and Other Moon People . For Children

Illustrated by R. A. Brandt London: Faber & Faber, 1963.
Contents »

The first of Hughes's collections of poems set on »the moon [...] at the bottom of our dreams« [Poetry in the Making].

See also Poetry in the Making and Moon-Whales below.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

  

1964

Nessie the Mannerless Monster . For Children

Illustrated by Gerald Rose. London: Faber & Faber, 1964
(the paperback edition (1992) has different illustrations);

Illustrated by Jan Pyk. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974, as Nessie the Monster.

A commission for Vogue, this little book contains one long poem. It recounts the monster's adventurous journey from Scottland to London in order to prove its existence. Also available as an AudioBook.

See also Poetry in the Making below.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

  

1967

Wodwo.

London: Faber & Faber, 1967;
New York: Harper & Row, 1967;
Revised versions were published in Hughes' Selected Poems 1972.
Contents »

Ted Hughes's first collection for adults since 1962. Some of its poems, like the title poem, go back to the late fifties and early sixties.
Wodwo collects poems, short stories (like »The Rain Horse«, »The Harvesting«, and »Sunday«) and a radio play called »The Wound«. It also contains an author's note which is very popular among critics, stating that poems, play and stories are intended to be read together »as parts of a single work«. Among the most popular poems in this book are: »Second Glance at a Jaguar« (ref. to »The Jaguar« in Hawk in the Rain), »Gog«, »Out«, »New Moon in January«, »Song of a Rat«, »Skylarks«, »The Howling of Wolves«, »Pibroch«, »Gnat-Psalm«, »Thistles«, »Full Moon and Little Frieda« and »Wodwo«.

Several poems from the period between 1962 and 1967 were published in the limited edition Recklings, some of which reappeared in the New Selected Poems 1954–1994.

See also Ted Hughes introduction to Difficulties of a Bridegroom.
See also Terry Gifford's essay »A Return to ›The Wound‹ ...« (Essay available on this site).
See also The Achievement of Ted Hughes.
See also Collected Poems for a reprinting of the 1972 revised versions of the poems.

  

Poetry in the Making. An Anthology of Poems and Programmes from Listening and Writing. For Children

London: Faber & Faber, 1967;
New York: Doubleday, 1970, as Poetry Is;
Contents »

This book collects pieces from Ted Hughes's work for the BBC in which he talks about poetry and encourages the listener/reader to try and write their own poems, stories and even novels. As a book about writing it is equally well suited for creative writing classes and for literary criticism. And it is a very good and interesting read.

The essays tell much about Hughes's approach. In most of them he uses poems of other writers as well as some of his own to illustrate the points made. Two entire chapters are dedicated to collections of poetry for children: Meet My Folks! (including Nessie) and The Earth-Owl. Other poems discussed include »The Thought-Fox« and »View of a Pig«.  

For some unknown reason, three essays are missing from the American edition: »Writing a Novel: Beginning«, »Writing a Novel: Going On«, and »Words and Experience«.
Two excerpts were published in Winter Pollen.
Recordings of two of the talks (»Capturing Animals« and »Learning to Think« ) were briefly available on vinyl record in 1971.

 

1968

The Iron Man. A Story in Five Nights. For Children

Illustrated by George Adamson. London: Faber & Faber, 1968;
later editions illustrated by Andrew Davidson.

Illustrated by Robert Nadler. New York: Harper & Row, 1968, as The Iron Giant,
later editions illustrated by Dirk Zimmer.

The Iron Man is probably Hughes's most well-known book for children. A heavily adapted version of the basic story was made into an award winning animated movie which nevertheless stays true to the redemptive, healing drift of the book.

The book tells the story of a little boy, Hogarth, who lives in a rural community which is confronted by an enormous Iron Man. A wonderful read.
The Iron Man is also available as an AudioBook, read by Ted Hughes.  

See also The Iron Woman.

 

1969

Seneca's Oedipus. Adapted by Ted Hughes .

London: Faber & Faber, 1969;
New York: Doubleday, 1972.

At the end of the sixties and in the early seventies Ted Hughes worked with Peter Brook's International Theatre Company, adapting and providing material for the company's experiments and rehearsal. The collaboration culminated in the productions of Oedipus and the unpublished Orghast. (Rumour has it that the Orghast script is lost.) Apparently, Hughes was also involved in the production of Peter Brook's movie King Lear.

See also A.C.H. Smith: Orghast at Persepolis (London: Methuen, 1972) for an account of the Orghast rehearsals and performances. Several books on Peter Brook do also include notes on Oedipus and the Orghast venture.

  

The Seventies:

1970

Poetry is.For Children

New York: Doubleday, 1970:
Contents »

American Edition of Poetry In the Making. Three talks were not included in this edition.

See Poetry In the Making.

  

The Coming of the Kings and Other Plays. For Children

London: Faber & Faber, 1970;
Illustrated by Alan E. Cober New York: Viking, 1974, as The Tiger's Bones.
Contents »

This is a collection of plays for children, originally conceived for radio. The American edition contains the additional play »Orpheus«.
The 2001 edition Collected Plays for Children does also include »Orpheus« plus the uncollected »The Pig Organ«.

See also »Alcestis«, an essay by Keith Sagar. [On-line essay available on this site]

  

Crow: From the Life and the Songs of the Crow.

Illustrated by Leonard Baskin. London: Faber & Faber, 1970;
Augmented ed. 1972;
Contents »


New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Apart from Birthday Letters, Crow is probably Ted Hughes's most famous collection of poetry.

It seems that Crow grew out of an invitation by Leonard Baskin to write a few poems to accompany some of his drawings. In the process, Hughes found a very reduced by enormously powerful language.

The book tells of Crow's adventures and relates some of the songs and stories he makes up. During readings Hughes generally used to provide a narrative framework for the poems which has never been published in print.

In this framing story, God has a recurring dream, a nightmare. The nightmare »appears to God as a hand. And this hand [...] is also a voice [...]«, a laughing voice. It »comes the moment he falls asleep. This thing arrives and grabs him round the throat, and throttles him and lifts him out of his Heaven and rushes him through his universe and pushes him beyond his stars and then ploughs up the Earth with his face and throws him back into Heaven. [...] God cannot understand what there can be in his creation which – (after all he is responsible for every atom in it) – [...] is so strange to him and can be so hostile to him«. Eventually, God gets this »voice-hand« to speak, and »the speech is a terrible mockery of God's creation, particularly of the crown of his creation, which is Man«. So, there »begins a great debate in Heaven between God and his nightmare – about Man. And God is very defensive of Man. Man is a very good invention and a successful invention and, given the materials and the situation, he's quite adequate. The voice just continues with its mocking that Man is absolutely hopeless.
It so happens, that while the debate has been going on [...], Man [...] had sent up a representative to the Gates of Heaven. This representative had been knocking on the marble gates and God had been so preoccupied with his nightmare that he hadn't heard him. So this little figure was sitting in the Gate of Heaven waiting for God to hear him. And now the voice [...] asks this little figure to speak [...]. And it so happens that Man has sent this little figure up to ask God to take life back because men are fed up with it. God is enraged that Man has let him down in this way in front of the Demon, so he challenges the voice to do better – given the materials and the whole set up – just to do better – produce something better than Man.
This is what the voice has been negotiating for. So, with a great howl of delight, he plunges down into matter and God turns Man round and pushes him back down into the World.«
So Crow is created and God, who feels pity for this ugly little creature, shows him around Creation. But Crow gets involved, plays about and more often then not messes things up. So God gets fed up with him.
Gradually it becomes clear that Crow is looking for his Creatrix who is also to become his intended bride, who is also a part of himself.

Due to tragic personal circumstances, Crow remained a fragment of only about two thirds of the story. Hughes saw himself unable to finish the story with a happy ending which he could not verify in his own life.

[The account of the background story was adapted from »Difficulties of a Bridegroom«, in Bertrand Rougé (ed): Q/W/E/R/T/Y 9, 1999; I am also quoting from Ann Skea's transcript of a reading at the Adelaide Festival (http://ann.skea.com).]

The American edition has seven additional poems. The 1972 edition has six of these plus »Crowcolour« – »The Lovepet« appeared only in the American edition. Subsequent public editions follow the edition of 1972. The limited edition of 1973 (with the Baskin drawings) included three additional poems. Further poems appeared in The Achievement of Ted Hughes, in magazines and several limited publications.

See also Cave Birds, below, and Ann Skea's on-line essay »Ted Hughes and Crow« accessible from her site. Essay available online
See also the recordings of Crow (record) and Crow (tape).
See also Collected Poems.

In 1997 Crow has been made available in a remarkable new edition including parts of the original link narrative as an AudioBook!

  

1974

The Tiger's Bones. For Children

Illustrated by Alan E. Cober. New York: Viking, 1974:
Contents »

American Edition of The Coming of the Kings & Other Plays, includes the additional play »Orpheus«.

See The Coming of the Kings and Other Plays, London: Faber & Faber, 1970;
See Collected Plays for Children.
 

 

1975

Season Songs. For Children

Illustrated by Leonard Baskin. New York: Viking, 1975;
Contents »
London: Faber & Faber, 1976.

Season Songs is a sequence of poems loosely following events in the seasonal cycle of the year. It is based on the earlier Five Autumn Songs for Children's Voices (1968) which Hughes wrote for a performance by school children at a festival.

Season Songs is a beautiful little book for children and adults alike. Several subsequent editions exist to which poems have been added or from which pieces have been omitted.

The most complete is the English edition of 1985, missing ›only‹ the following poems: »The Defenders« (in American edition), »The Stag« and »Two Horses« (both in 1976 edition).

See also Under the North Star, Moon-Bells and Other Poems and What is the Truth?.
See also Collected Poems.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

   

1976

Moon-Whales and Other Moon Poems. For Children

Illustrated by Leonard Baskin. New York: Viking, 1976.
Contents »

This book collects the poems of The Earth-Owl and Other Moon People and the limited edition Earth-Moon, published by the Rainbow Press in 1976, and illustrated by Hughes himself. It has a much wider range of topic and tone than The Earth-Owl.

A ›revised‹ edition simply titled Moon-Whales, splendidly illustrated by Chris Riddell, was published by Faber & Faber in 1988. It omits six poems from the Baskin edition of 1976.

See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

  

1977

Gaudete.

London: Faber & Faber, 1977;
New York: Harper & Row, 1977.
Contents »

Gaudete tells the story of Reverend Lumb who is abducted by spirits into the underworld. His place on earth is taken by a double made of an oak log. The main part of the poems narrates the story of this double who, for one thing, transforms the local Women's Institute into a coven.

The »Epilogue« of the book presents poems written by the ›real‹ Lumb upon his return from the underworld.

Gaudete
is an engaging little book, beautifully narrated.

See also »The Poetry and Voice of Ted Hughes«, which contains a reading of some poems from the Epilogue to Gaudete.
Moortown and some of the recordings from the 1970s collect poems from the Epilogue context (Orts/Lumbs Remains)
See also Collected Poems.

  

1978

Moon-Bells and Other Poems. For Children

London: Chatto & Windus, 1978.
Second, expanded edition 1986, illustrated by Felicity Roma Bowers.
Contents »

This is a collection of poems for children which takes its title from one of the poems from Moon-Whales also included here. In spite of its name, it does not belong with The Earth-Owl and Moon-Whales. The other poems were either previously uncollected or come from a variety of books for adults and children. Some of them have subsequently been republished in collections for adults.

The scope of the collection is astounding. It ranges from playful childly material like »Nessie« and the Moon poems to ›nature‹ and ›animal poetry‹ as »Coming Down Through Somerset«, to material from the Crow context like »Amulet« and »Horrible Song«.

As such, Moon-Bells shows the full breadth of Ted Hughes's writing for children. It presents an author who takes children seriously and doesn't underestimate their ability to grasp complexities like natural cycles of life and death.

The 1986 edition has three additional poems.

See also Under the North Star, Season Songs and What is the Truth?.
See also Collected Poems.

See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

  

Cave Birds. An Alchemical Cave Drama.

Drawings by Leonard Baskin. London: Faber & Faber, 1978;
New York: Viking 1979.
Contents »

Cave Birds continues the kind of quest story apparent from such material as »The Wound«, Gaudete and Crow. A first, limited edition appeared in 1975. All later editions are heavily revised and very different from this.

Cave Birds
tells of the purification of a protagonist in what parallels stages of an alchemical process of transforming base material (sometimes referred to as »bronze« in the book) into a refined substance.

Possibly the most well-known poem in the book is »Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days«, which Hughes re-incorporated into the Crow version on the Faber/Penguin cassette, where it originally belonged. In her book Ted Hughes.

In The Poetic Quest, Ann Skea offers a poem by poem guide to the work (http://ann.skea.com).

See also Terry Gifford's essay »A Return to ›The Wound‹ ...« Essay available on this site.
Additional poems were published in The Achievement of Ted Hughes and Collected Poems.
Three Books, Faber & Faber 1993, has a version without the illustrations.

  

1979

Remains of Elmet.

Photographs by Fay Godwin. London: Faber & Faber, 1979;
New York: Harper & Row, 1979.
Contents » (includes comparison with Elmet)

Remains of Elmet presents Ted Hughes's first collaboration with a photographer, Fay Godwin.

It is a celebration of the area where he spent the first seven years of his childhood. The poems reflect on its landscape, environment, and its people who are said to live in the remains of the Celtic kingdom of Elmet.

It is a very beautiful book but Hughes seems to have felt that some of the photographs and poems did not go together well enough, and that the original book dwelt on the idea of the ›remains‹ too much. Thus, the 1994 revised edition published as Elmet is virtually presents a different book.

In her book Ted Hughes. The Poetic Quest, Ann Skea offers a guide to the work (http://ann.skea.com). Ann also has an essay on-line called »Regenerations in Remains of Elmet«. On-line essay

Three Books, Faber & Faber 1993, has a version without the photographs.
See also Ted Hughes & Paul Muldoon (audio tape) and Collected Poems.

  

Moortown.

London: Faber & Faber, 1979;
Contents »

New York: Harper & Row 1980.

Moortown collects several (semi-)independent projects and several uncollected poems into one volume. The book is frequently confused with Moortown Diary, which collects only the ›farming poems‹.
Many of the poems in Moortown had been published previously only in limited editions. The major sequences of poems making this volume are:

  • Moortown Elegies contains the poems also collected in Moortown Diary (see also Moortown Elegies (ltd. ed.) and Moortown Diary),
  • Prometheus on His Crag (minus three poems appearing in the ltd. ed.),
  • Earth-Numb,
  • Four Tales Told by an Idiot,
  • Actaeon,
  • Seven Dungeon Songs,
  • Orts, and
  • Adam and the Sacred Nine (minus five poems appearing in the ltd. ed.).

The focus ranges from the farming poems from Hughes's »verse diary« to the transcendental, symbolically dense poems of Adam and the Sacred Nine, loosely based on Attar's Conference of the Birds.  

See also Ted Hughes and R. S. Thomas (audio tape).
See also Ted Hughes & Paul Muldoon (audio tape).
See also Collected Poems.

  
 

The Eighties:

1981

Under the North Star. For Children

Illustrated by Leonard Baskin. New York: Viking, 1981;
London: Faber & Faber, 1981.
Contents »

Under the North Star collects poems on animals who live north of the 49th parallel. It is a very beautiful book. The illustrations are in water-colour. Aiming at children it will hold much for the adult reader, and indeed several of its poems have subsequently appeared in collections for adults.

See also Season Songs and What is the Truth?
Selections were also published in The Iron Wolf, Faber & Faber 1995 and on the Faber/Penguin Audio Tape Nessie the Mannerless Monster and The Iron Wolf. 
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

 

1982

The Rattle Bag. For Children

Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber & Faber, 1982

An Anthology of Poems for children. The choice of material is very broad, making this anthology suitable for many settings and audiences (school, home, ... — children, young adults, adults) or just for reading from end to end. The poems are sorted according to broad topics.   

See also the companion volume The School Bag.

 

1983

The Achievement of Ted Hughes.

Edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983.

Though a collection of critical pieces on Hughes, the book contains thirty uncollected poems.
The Table of Contents gives the following list (Dates in brackets are dates of composition supplied by Ted Hughes; dates of first publication in square brackets; ›unpublished‹ refers to the time of publication of The Achievement of Ted Hughes):

  • »The Little Boys and the Seasons« (1954)
  • »Quest« (1957)
  • »Lines to a Newborn Baby« (1960)
  • »White Elite Lotus« (1963)
  • »Crow Wakes« (1964)
  • »Small Events« (1965)
  • »The Brother's Dream« (1965-6)
  • »Birdsong« (1966)
  • »Fighting for Jerusalem« (1966)

    Uncollected Crow poems:
  • »Song of Woe« (1967)
  • »Existential Song« (1967)
  • »Anecdote« (1968)
  • »Crow Fails« (1968), Unpublished
  • »Crow Compromises« (1968), Unpublished
  • »A Lucky Folly« (1968)
  • »A Crow Hymn« (1968)
  • »Bones« (1969)
  • »Song Against the White Owl« [1970]
  • »Snow Song« [1970]
  • »Crow's Song About God« [1971]
  • »Crow's Song About England« [1971]
  • »The New World« [1972]
  • »An Alchemy [1973]
  • »The Lamentable History of the Human Calf [1975]

    Unpublished Cave Birds poems
  • »The Advocate«, Unpublished
  • »Two Dreams in the Cell«, Unpublished
  • »Your Mother's Bones Wanted to Speak«, Unpublished
  • »She is the Rock«, Unpublished

    Two poems originally intended for Adam and the Sacred Nine
  • »Light« [1976]
  • »Skin« [1976]

    See also Hawk in the Rain, Lupercal, Wodwo, Crow, Cave Birds and Moortown.
    See also Collected Poems.
  

River.

Photographs by P. Keen. London: Faber & Faber in association with James & James, 1983;
Contents »

New York: Harper & Row, 1984 without photographs.

River is Ted Hughes's second collaboration with a photographer. Poems and photographs seem more loosely related than in Remains of Elmet, and subsequent editions are without photographs.

The book continues with what is often called Hughes's ›nature poetry‹, as collected in such books as Moortown Diary and Remains of Elmet. The focus is, however, is more strongly on rivers and other bodies of water and the animals that live in and around them.

Probably the best-known poem from the collection is »An October Salmon«. Until his death Ted Hughes had been a passionate angler and conservationist. An interview published in 1999 in the anglers's magazine Wild Steelhead & Salmon seems to date back to the time when several of the River poems were written.

Three Books, Faber & Faber 1993, has a revised version without the photographs.

See also Wild Steelhead & Salmon in the Interviews section.
See also Ted Hughes & Paul Muldoon (audio tape).
See also Collected Poems.

   

1984

What is the Truth? A Farmyard Fable for the Young. For Children

Illustrated by R.J. Lloyd. London: Faber & Faber, 1984;
New York: Harper & Row, 1984.
Contents »

What is the Truth? is a book closely connected with Ted Hughes's involvement in a project called »Farms for City Children« set up by Clare and Michael Morpurgo in the 1970s.

The book tells the story of God who summons sleeping villagers to present their perceptions of certain animals to His son. Naturally, the presentations are conflicting so that the question arises what the Truth might be. The villagers' descriptions are given in verse and Reg Lloyd has provided very beautiful illustrations for the book.

The poems in the book continue in the vein of Hughes's ›animal/nature poetry‹ for children as have previously appeared in Moon-Bells, Under the North Star or Season Songs. Several of them have subsequently appeared in collections for adults.

The Collected Animal Poems reprint the book with a different set of illustrations.

Two further collections grew from collaborations with Reg Lloyd and belong in the context of Hughes's involvement with Farms for City Children: The Cat and the Cuckoo (1987) and The Mermaid's Purse (1993), both of which appeared in limited editions and have subsequently been re-published with different sets of illustrations.  

See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

 

1986

Ffangs the Vampire Bat and The Kiss of Truth. For Children

Illustrated by Chris Riddell. London: Faber & Faber, 1986.

Ffangs tells the story of a little vampire who wants to be human and follows his adventures trying to achieve this goal. The story is told in an exciting mixture of verse and prose.

As the title suggests, it presents another quest for Truth (see What is the Truth? above). Very sadly, the story remained unfinished and no sequel exists . Though there is an announcement on the last page that Ffangs's adventures would be continued in »the next book«, I have not been able to find any material hinting at the conclusion of the Ffangs story.

Nevertheless, Ffangs is a very exciting read and Chris Riddell has provided an amazing set of illustrations. The story is also available as an AudioBook, read by Ted Hughes himself. 

 

Flowers and Insects. Some Birds and a Pair of Spiders. For Children

Drawings by Leonard Baskin. London: Faber & Faber, 1986;
New York: Knopf 1986.
Contents »

A very beautiful collection of ›nature poetry‹. It is in the vein of much of his poetry for children and adults since the seventies, like Season Songs or Moortown Diary.

Baskin's drawings are in water-colour.  

 

1987

The Cat and the Cuckoo. For Children

Illustrated by R.J. Lloyd. Bideford: Sunstone Press, 1987.
Illustrated by Flora McDonnell. London: Faber & Faber, 2002.
Contents »

Hughes's second collaboration for children with Reg Lloyd, and another project in connection with Farms for City Children.

The Cat and the Cuckoo
collects twenty-eight animal poems. Twenty-six of them have been re-published in The Iron Wolf (»Dog« and »Hedgehog« have been dropped).

Delightful material!   

See also The Iron Wolf, Faber & Faber 1995, and the Faber/Penguin Audio Tape Nessie the Mannerless Monster and The Iron Wolf.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

 

1988

Tales of the Early World. For Children

Illustrated by Andrew Davidson. London: Faber & Faber, 1988.
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991.
Contents »
See also Collected Creation Tales below.

Tales of the Early world is Hughes's second book of Creation Tales.
While How the Whale Became (the first collection with Creation Tales) contained several stories that were strongly reminiscent of Kipling and Aesop, Tales of the Early World takes the reader into an original Hughesian world.

The stories feature God, God's Mother, Woman and Man as major protagonists and are reminiscent of the world portrayed in the link narrative of Crow.

A very entertaining read. The third collection of Creation Tales is The Dreamfighter listed below.

Tales of the Early World is also available as an AudioBook, read by Ted Hughes.

See also How the Whale Became and The Dreamfighter.
All Creation Tales have been collected in the Collected Creation Tales, which irritatingly is also titled The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales.

  

Moon-Whales. For Children

Illustrated by Chris Riddell. London: Faber & Faber, 1988.
Contents »

Moon-Whales is the revised British edition of Moon-Whales and Other Moon Poems published by Viking in 1976. Yet, the revisions and the new set of illustrations render it virtually a different book. It omits six poems from the American edition.

The book is Hughes's second collaboration with Chris Riddell, the full impact of whose illustrations may only be experienced from the hard back (the paperback clips several images).

Moon-Whales collects poems from The Earth-Owl and the limited edition of Earth-Moon. It portrays creatures who inhabit a moon »at the bottom of our dreams« [Poetry in the Making] and events that occur there.

The poems range from nonsensically playful and plain funny to serious. A wonderful book.  

See also Moon-Whales and Other Moon-Poems, The Earth-Owl and Poetry in the Making.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

 

1989

Wolfwatching.

London: Faber & Faber, 1989;
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991.
Contents »

Wolfwatching reads like a continuing exploration of themes touched upon in books like Remains of Elmet and River. The book has a note on »The Black Rhino«, the American edition has an additional note on »On the Reservations«.

See also Ann Skea's essay »Wolf Masks«, accessible on her site. [On-line essay]  
See also Collected Poems.

 

Moortown Diary.

London: Faber & Faber, 1989.

This is the trade edition of Moortown Elegies, which was published in a limited edition in 1978. The poems were also collected in Moortown.

The book contains notes on several poems not included in either of the previous editions. The poems in Moortown Diary are presented as a kind of »verse diary« Hughes kept at a time when he was farming in Devon with Carol Hughes's father Jack Orchard.

They are beautiful, moving pieces with a kind of unique raw energy. »February 17th«, »Ravens«, »Coming Down Through Somerset« and »The Day he Died« are among the better known poems from this collection.  

See also Collected Poems.

  
 

The Nineties:

1992

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being.

London: Faber & Faber, 1992.
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992 (corrected and expanded edition).
The English paperback edition (1993) follows the corrected, expanded American text.
Contents »

Hughes investigates a single theme/conflict in Shakespeare's »mature plays« of which each play presents a variation. He traces the emergence of this them to the two long poems »Venus and Adonis« and »The Rape of Lucrece« and from there via Greek mythology back to Sumerian myth. Hughes links this theme/conflict to the social and religious pressures during Shakespeare's time, of which, he says, it provides a mirror image. It is a most fascinating argument that also says much about Hughes's work.

More information in the Essays & Non-fiction Section.

 

Rain-Charm for the Duchy and Other Laureate Poems.

London: Faber & Faber, 1992.
Contents »

A collection of Laureate poems (Hughes had been made Poet Laureate in 1984).
The book comes with extensive notes. 

See also Collected Poems.

 

A Dancer to God. Tributes to T. S. Eliot.

London: Faber & Faber, 1992.
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993.

This book collects three essays on T. S. Eliot written for three separate occasions.  

See also Winter Pollen.

 

1993

Three Books: Remains of Elmet, Cave Birds, River.

London: Faber & Faber, 1993.

Three Books collects poems from Cave Birds, Remains of Elmet and River. There are several additions, omissions and other changes.

The project seems to have been sparked off by Ann Skea's book Ted Hughes. The Poetic Quest, which examines the three collections as a sequence.

In this edition, the poems stand for themselves without illustrations or photographs.  

See also Collected Poems.

 

The Iron Woman. A Sequel to The Iron Man. For Children

Illustrated by Andrew Davidson. London: Faber & Faber, 1993;
With engravings by Barry Moser. New York: Dial Books, 1995.

A sequel to a very popular book almost always sounds like a bad idea, like cashing in on the previous publication's fame, etc. The Iron Woman is Hughes's attempt to expand on the story of Hogarth and the Iron Man but bringing in a different perspective.

Since his children where little, he had been trying to create a work that focused on girls rather than boys. In effect, the Iron Woman is very different from the Iron Man. The book is much about conservation, human ignorance towards our destruction of nature. A solution is brought about only when the two children, Lucy and Hogarth and the two iron beings work together.

The Iron Woman is also available as an AudioBook.

  

1994

Elmet.

Photography by Fay Godwin. London: Faber & Faber, 1994.
Contents » (includes comparison with Remains of Elmet)

This is a revised and expanded edition of Remains of Elmet — virtually a different book. Several poems have been added, others have been dropped and there have been changes in sequence. It seems that Hughes was unhappy with the match between some of the poems and photographs in the first edition. Also, as the shortened title indicates he seems to have shifted his focus away from dwelling on the ›remains‹ to celebrating »Elmet«.

The book also contains a new note on the historical/mythical Elmet. In 2000, Terry Gifford gave a presentation on major differences between the two Elmet books which has been collected in Alternative Horizons (ed. J. Moulin). 

See also Collected Poems.

 

Winter Pollen. Occasional Prose.

Edited by William Scammell.
London: Faber & Faber, 1994.
New York: Picador, 1995
Contents »

A collection of reviews, essays and articles and the unpublished story »The Burnt Fox«. Most of the articles were originally published in newspapers, magazines and journals, some of which are very hard to get.

The American edition has an additional essay on Sylvia Plath.  

More information in the Essays & Non-fiction Section.

 

1995

New Selected Poems: 1957—1994.

London: Faber & Faber, 1995.

This book had sections titled »Uncollected«, which included poems that were to appear in Birthday Letters three years later but went largely unnoticed. Some critics suspect, that Hughes was testing the waters. Moreover, the book reprinted several poems from the limited edition Capriccio (1990).

See also The Thought-Fox and Other Poems (audio tape).
See also Ted Hughes Reading his Poetry (audio tape).
 

 

The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales. For Children

London: Faber & Faber, 1995.
Contents »

The third collection of Creation Tales. Wonderful material.

An additional tale appeared in Michael Morpurgo (ed): Muck and Magic. London: Heinemann & Mammoth, 1995.

The Dreamfighter is also available on Faber/Penguin Audio Tape.
See also How the Whale Became and Tales of the Early World. The Creation Tales have been collected in the Collected Creation Tales, which is also titled The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales.

   

Difficulties of a Bridegroom. Collected Short Stories.

London: Faber & Faber, 1995;
New York: Picador, 1995.
Contents »

Difficulties of a Bridegroom collects most of Hughes's published short stories for adults, plus the radio play »The Wound« (from Wodwo) and one story previously published in a book for children.

The introduction gives some insight into the development of the early stories and the play, shedding light on such publications as Wodwo, Gaudete and Cave Birds. In contrast to what the title may suggest, this is not the complete body of short stories. The stories and the play in this collection are:

  • »The Deadfall« [prev. published in Ghostly Haunts], For Children
  • »O'Kelley's Angel«,
  • »Snow« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »Sunday« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »The Rain Horse« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »The Harvesting« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »The Wound« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »The Suitor« [prev. published in Wodwo],
  • »The Head« [prev. published in »Bananas«].
   

Collected Animal Poems.

London: Faber & Faber, 1995.

The collection is dedicated to Hughes's sister and brother, Olwyn and Gerald.

Typical for collections by Ted Hughes, this has some of his poems originally published in collections for adults drift into collections of poems for children and vice versa. It comes with a subject index.

Volume 1:
The Iron Wolf. For Children
Illustrated by Chris Riddell.

This book collects poems from several earlier publications in a beautiful little volume. Included are poems from:

Two poems are previously uncollected. It is a very good and enjoyable collection. This volume aims specifically at children.

The Iron Wolf
is also available on the Faber/Penguin Audio Tape Nessie the Mannerless Monster and The Iron Wolf.
See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)


Volume 2.
What is the Truth? For Children
Illustrated by Lisa Flather.

This is the same as What is the Truth? A Farmyard Fable for the Young but with a completely new set of illustrations.

In contrast to the original publication, it has a contents listing that provides titles for the poems.

See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)


Volume 3.
A March Calf.

Collects poems from:

Six poems are uncollected. The book is directed primarily at adults.

Volume 4.
The Thought Fox.

Collects poems from:

This is intended for adult readers.  

 

Frank Wedekind: Spring Awakening in a New Version by Ted Hughes.

London: Faber & Faber, 1995.

Ted Hughes's translation of Wedekind's »Frühlingserwachen«.   

 

1996

Federico García Lorca: Blood Wedding. In a new version by Ted Hughes. 

London: Faber & Faber, 1996.

 

1997

The School Bag. For Children

Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
London: Faber & Faber, 1997.

This is the second anthology of poems for children (and adults) selected by Heaney and Hughes.

In contrast to the Rattle Bag, this comes as a kind of history of English language poetry and of poetry written in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

As with its companion volume, the choice of poems presented is a surprise and challenge, including poems from Old and Middle English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh.

The book has a foreword by Heaney and an afterword by Hughes.  

See also The Rattle Bag.

 

By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember.

Edited and with an introduction by Ted Hughes.
London: Faber & Faber, 1997.
Contents »

This is an anthology of ›poems to remember‹. In his foreword, Hughes gives a short introduction to the topic and his view on the importance of memorising poems.

The introduction is the same essay as appeared in The School Bag.  

Also available as an AudioBook.

 

Tales from Ovid.

London: Faber & Faber, 1997.
Contents »

Tales from Ovid developed from four pieces translated for After Ovid, edited by Michael Hofmann and James Lasdun.

It holds twenty-four passages very powerfully brought into modern day English.

It is also available as an AudioBook.  
See also Collected Poems.

 

Shaggy and Spotty. For Children

Illustrated by David Lucas. London: Faber & Faber, 1997.

This is Ted Hughes's first proper Picture Book collaboration.

The story is of the wild adventure of two dogs. Apparently, it dates back to a time when Hughes's own children where little.

Wonderfully illustrated.  

 

1998

Birthday Letters.

London: Faber & Faber, 1998.
Contents »
Contents Howls & Whispers »

It seems that for reasons of the story which provides the poems's background, Birthday Letters has become Hughes's most well-known volume. Following the immense media coverage, there is little to add.

Several poems belonging to the context of this book, but not included in it, have been published in newspapers and elsewhere:

  • »The City« in The Sunday Times (international edition), October 26, 1997, Book Section, Page 8-4,
  • »The Offers« in The Sunday Times, October 18 1998.
  • Howls and Whispers (ltd edition, ill. by Leonard Baskin, Northampton, Mass.: Gehenna Press, 1998) contains eleven poems not included in Birthday Letters.

The Collected Poems (2003) contain all published poems from the Birthday Letters context.

See also New Selected Poems.
See also Collected Poems.

Ann Skea has compiled a most fascinating analysis of Birthday Letters. As a work in progress, this is accessible on her web site: http://ann.skea.com. [On-line essay]  

 

Jean Racine: Phèdre. A New Version by Ted Hughes.

London: Faber & Faber, 1998.

Hughes's translation of Racine.    

 

1999

The Mermaid's Purse.For Children

Illustrated by Flora McDonnell. London: Faber & Faber, 1999. Revised Edition.
Contents »

This is a newly illustrated version of the poems from the limited edition of 1993. There seems to have been another version from 1991, which Faber & Faber listed as Collected Animal Poems. The Mermaid's Purse (Hardback, ISBN: 0-571-16451-X), publication date »18 Nov 1991«. I have never seen this nor can I confirm its existence.

The 1999 edition drops the poem »Gull« (»What yanks upward your line of sight…«) and replaces it with an early Hughes poem »Gulls« (»Gulls are glanced from the cliff...«).

Flora McDonnell's illustrations are very beautiful but sadly not reproduced in colour.

Selections have also been published in volume 1 of the Collected Animal Poems: The Iron Wolf, Faber & Faber 1995, and on the Faber/Penguin Audio Tape Nessie the Mannerless Monster and The Iron Wolf. 
See also Collected Animal Poems.

See also Collected Poems for Children (entry below)

 

The Oresteia of Aeschylus: A New Translation by Ted Hughes.

London: Faber & Faber, 1999.

Since the early nineties, Ted Hughes dedicated an increasing amount of effort to translations and work for theatre. This followed a period of much prose writing and editing and apparently was to prepare his return to writing poetry.  

The Oresteia and Alcestis (below) are two publications that seem to have been very important to him, finished shortly before his death in 1998.

 

Eurpides: Alcestis. In a version by Ted Hughes.

London: Faber & Faber, 1999.

The play was written for Barry Rutter's company Northern Broadsides.

Keith Sagar has kindly supplied his essay »Alcestis«, an introduction to the play, for you to read on this site. [On-line essay]   

See also Oresteia above. 

 
 

2000 & Beyond:

2001

Collected Plays for Children. For Children

Illustrated by Quentin Blake. London: Faber & Faber 2001.
Contents »

Re-publishes the plays from The Coming of the Kings / The Tiger's Bones (including »Orpheus«) plus the uncollected »The Pig Organ«.

In contrast to what the title may suggest, there is a number of plays not inlcuded, which were published outside the two collections mentioned above.  

 

2003

The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales. [= Collected Creation Tales] For Children

Different illustrators (reprinting earlier illustrations). London: Faber & Faber, 2003.
Contents »

This book republishes the stories from How the Whale Became, Tales of the Early World, The Dreamfighter. Originally, the editors seem to have planned the inclusion of a story published separately in Michael Morpurgo's (ed.) Muck and Magic (1995) and of a previously unpublished story. Though both are referred to in the publishing credits, they have not been included.  

 

Collected Poems [= Collected Poems for Adults, mostly]

Edited by Paul Keegan. Faber & Faber, 2003.
Contents »

This »interim« publication aims at collection all of Hughes's published poems for adults. The book offers an astounding scope of previously hard-to-find material. It comes with extensive notes, listing, among other things, variants and details.

Nevertheless, a few poems are missing: »Crow Compromises« (1968), »Crow Fails« (1968), »The Advocate«, »Two Dreams in the Cell«, »Your Mother's Bones Wanted to Speak«, »She is the Rock«, all of which are collected in The Achievement of Ted Hughes, and »Football« (limited edition, 1995) as well as »Selling Cows at Bridgetown Farm, Iddesleigh« (This is Our Land ..., 1989).

For additional details, please see this Review.

Collected Poems for Children

Illustrated by Raymond Briggs
Faber & Faber, 2005.
Contents »

The book collects most of Ted Hughes's poems for children. It contains all poems from The Mermaid's Purse, The Cat and the Cuckoo, Season Songs, Nessie the Mannerless Monster, Meet My Folks, What is the Truth, Under the North Star, and the moon poem collections (The Earth-Owl and Other Moon-People, Earth-Moon and Moon-Whales), as well as a few poems that appeared here and there in other collections. Strangely absent are several poems from the award-winning Moon-Bells.

The book comes with an Index and an Index of First Lines.

For additional details, please see this Review.

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