POETS Day: Crow, by Ted Hughes

Ben Sears

Ben Sears is a writer and restaurant guy in Birmingham, Alabama. He lives quite happily across from a creek with his wife, two sons, and an obligatory dog. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog, The Columbo Game.

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2 Responses

  1. Jaybird

    I have a handful of strong feelings about Ted Hughes (that are tied to my strong feelings about Sylvia Plath) and was wondering the other day about how you never really hear about either of them anymore.

    I was wondering if that was just part and parcel with the whole experience of going to the supermarket and seeing the celebrity gossip rags and realizing that you don’t recognize any of the people on the cover. I think it was The Hills when I started saying stuff like “Heidi and Spencer? Kristin Cavallari? Who in the heck are these people?”

    And then Jersey Shore came out and I was expected to know who “Snooki” was. Ugh.

    Where was I? Oh, yeah. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath disappeared like the Gabor sisters. There was the 2003 movie and, in 2009, Niven and Pournelle wrote a sequel to their 1976(!) take on Dante’s Inferno and Escape from Hell had their protagonist meet up with Sylvia Plath in the Wood of the Suicides (don’t worry, Ted Hughes shows up in Hell too).

    And that was the last time I heard of either of them in popular culture.

    The artists I thought were timeless turned out to be pop culture.


    Anyway, in 2016, Max Porter came out with a book called “Grief is the Thing with Feathers“. It’s about a father and two young boys whose wife/mother had just passed and about their interactions with the terrible sadness and the Crow that comes to visit.

    It’s really, really good. Sad. Funny. Helpful.

    When I first saw it, I flipped to the opening poem and was *HOOKED*:


    There’s a feather on my pillow.

    Pillows are made of feathers, go to sleep.

    It’s a big black feather.

    Come and sleep in my bed.

    There’s a feather on your pillow too.

    Let’s leave the feathers where they are and sleep on the floor.

    I wish it were easier to read Ted Hughes without the baggage. I guess Birthday Letters was his attempt to get me to do that… but I’ve never made it past Fulbright Scholars.Report

  2. Jaybird

    I also learned just this weekend that Ted Hughes was the writer behind The Iron Giant. That’s one of the best movies ever. It’s available on Youtube, free with ads.

    Doing the thing where you separate the art from the artist is easier when the artist is farther away. This is still one of my favorite movies, of course. But… dang. Friggin’ Ted Hughes.Report

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