Ted Hughes As a Poet
The poetry of Ted Hughes is characterized by his obsession with animals, the beautiful yet violent and destructive nature, violence, cruelty, brutality and death: "a poetic voice of blood and guts". He takes up the themes such as man and his relation to nature and animal world, war, death and the concerns of human consciousness. He brings the dark and violent forces of modern society to the foreground. Though Hughes is often charged with the label of a poet reflecting violence and brutality in all forms, yet his purpose is not violence. He views things on a grander scale. In looking at violence, he looks for the energy and life depicted in violence. He believes the modern man's cruel pursuits of material gains have created imbalance in the natural world affecting both man and the animal world. Therefore, the energy and life within the violence can bring both balance as well as chaos. Hughes uses certain primeval myths to highlight his themes.
Ted Hughes Obsession with animals:
Hughes has himself admitted his shamanistic approach in his poetry about animals. Ted Hughes was fascinated about animal world since childhood. He wishes to find out the "healing truths" in the animal world. "The Though Fox" is the best illustration of this. Though the poem is actually about writing a poem, yet Hughes has aptly used the image of a fox and it's delicacy of movement really impress us.
In "Hawk's Monologue", Hughes has masterfully created the image of a cruel yet crafty hawk which is there to prey and rule because of the physical and natural advantage to him. The Hawk says:
"I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body".
Salient features of the poetry of Ted Hughes are: