Poetry Hughes, Frieda Wooroloo: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780060930028

Wooroloo: Poems

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9780060930028: Wooroloo: Poems

Welcome to the meticulously observed world of Frieda Hughes. It is a world of tangible materiality constantly on the brink of change, a world populated with foxes and fire, fathers and lovers, mothers and birdmen--a world that is ultimately combustible, fragile, fearsome, and elegiacally beautiful. Hughes maps the landscape, both within and without, in language possessed of an almost painterly sensitivity and a sublime mastery of craft. The self she depicts is one who is tested by loss, danger, betrayal, and abandonment, yet one who is transformed through experience into a world beyond nihilism and despair a place that makes possible truth, strength of character, and the redemptive power of love.

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Review:

What to make of a poem called "Dead Cow" that begins: "Balloon-cow at roadside/Offers up her odour/To the flies that skate/The currents of her openings"? This collection of poems by Frieda Hughes contains many poems about animals and viscera. In addition to cows, there are sheep, foxes, spiders, birds, ferrets, fish, giraffes--even a walrus; there are also poems about hysterectomies and cesareans, unhappy marriages and, underlying them all, references both stylistically and thematically to Hughes's famously unhappy parents, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Her poems borrow her father's images and her mother's preoccupations--Plath's difficult relationship with her mother, for example, is passed on to the next generation in "Granny": "You loved me not, just saw/A copy of the face/You gave birth to/Wanted to catch it without warning/Not like last time/When it slipped away for burial. Defied you." Where these poems are strongest is in Hughes's powerful use of visual imagery--not surprising, since she is an award-winning painter. A line such as "She is sticks of seen-through blue/And pale yellows of skin" is evocative, indeed. Taken on its own merits, Wooroloo is problematic poetry; read as a codicil to Hughes's parents' work, it makes for an intriguing family artifact.

About the Author:

Born in London in 1960, Frieda Hughes is a poet, an award-winning painter, and the author of seven books for children. Her poems have appeared in many leading publications, including, among others, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The London Magazine, The Spectator, The Times, Tatler, Thumbscrew, and Agenda. Her first collection of poetry, Wooroloo, received a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.

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