Rain-Charm for the Duchy and Other Laureate Poems by Ted Hughes - review by Val Hennessy

Val Hennessy

My Spermy, Fattening Gland Turned Cold

Rain-Charm for the Duchy and Other Laureate Poems


Faber & Faber 96pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

We learn from the Faber publicity blurb that Ted Hughes's appointment as Poet Laureate is the 'most inspired' since Tennyson's. We also learn that Hughes, in discharging his Laureate duties, 'has found the means to express a comprehensive vision of reality and nationhood that goes far beyond the courtly doggerel of most of his predecessors'. Comprehensive vision of reality? Well, call me a barbarian, but bollocks to that.

Where is Ted Hughes coming from? These impenetrable poems, with their dense allusions and clotted metaphors, have me completely flummoxed. What on earth do the royals themselves make of them? Knowing the Queen Mother's penchant for Ken Dodd and music hall medleys I wonder how she coped with ‘A Masque

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