Sue Arnold writing in The Guardian, Saturday 27 December 2008
by Ted Hughes
The bonus with this recording is that Hughes has a marvellous voice — angry, gritty, macho, like his writing, but sensitive, too, with the sort of Yorkshire accent that puts you in mind of tough, laconic miners (the sort you glimpsed picketing in 1984) not dotty old "ee by gum" codgers in Last of the Summer Wine.
Hughes is sometimes described as a nature poet, a misleading description
This, from his monologue spoken by a hawk in a wood, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up:
"I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed. / Inaction, no falsifying dream / Between my hooked head and hooked feet: / Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat . /... / My feet are locked upon the rough bark. /It took the whole of Creation / To produce my foot, my each feather : /Now I hold Creation in my foot / Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly — / I kill where I please because it is all mine. / There is no sophistry in my body: / My manners are tearing off heads — / The allotment of death . . ."
It was recorded at the Poetry Society's diamond jubilee in 1969 before an audience who gave him a standing ovation.
On 15 October 2008, the British Library released two new additions to its popular series of literary spoken word CDs, featuring rarely heard BBC broadcasts of the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes (1930 – 1998), recorded 1960 – 1992.
Notable extracts include a broadcast dated 6 July 1970, in which Hughes is interviewed on the background and meaning of The Life and Songs of Crow, which he called his masterpiece, ‘if I am capable of such a thing as a masterpiece'. In another excerpt from a ‘Poet of the Month' programme, broadcast on 5 April 1992, Hughes discusses his appointment as Poet Laureate.
Recordings include Capturing Animals (1961), in which Ted Hughes talks about how his early interest in animals turned into capturing and keeping animals in the form of poems, and Meet my Folks! (1965), in which Ted Hughes talks about his imaginary family and reads the poems he wrote about them.