Author(s): Ted Hughes
Originally the medieval bestiary or book of animals set out to establish safe distinctions - between them and us - but Hughes' poetry works always in a contrary direction: showing what man and beast have in common, the reservoir from which we all draw. Alice Oswald's selection is arranged chronologically, with an eye to different books and styles, but equally to those poems that embody animals, rather than just describe them. Some poems are here because, although not strictly speaking animal, they become so in the process of writing; and in keeping with the bestiary tradition there are plenty of imaginary animals - all concentratedly coming about their business. The resulting selection is subtly responsive to a central aspect of Hughes' achievement, while offering room to some wonderful overlooked poems, and to 'those that have the wildest tunes.'
'Cold, delicately as the dark snow. A fox's nose touches twig, leaf.' - The Thought Fox
Alice Oswald lives in Devon and is married with three children. Dart, her second collection, won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002. Her third collection, Woods etc, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T. S. Eliot Prize. A Sleepwalk on the Severn appeared in 2009, as did Weeds and Wild Flowers, her collaboration with the artist Jessica Greenman.