Moortown Diary by Ted Hughes, written as an improvised verse journal of the time in which Hughes lived and worked in constant proximity to the outside world and the animals which are so uncannily, vividly present in his writing.
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Originally published in 1979, Moortown Diary is the updated version of Ted Hughes’s acclaimed Devon farming sequence, written over a period of several years during which he was spending almost every day outside, either gardening or farming. The introduction and notes (added in 1989) sketch in the background from which these remarkable poems emerged as an improvised verse journal, sparely edited, coalescing spontaneously on the page.
‘Moortown Diary keeps its eye firmly on the creatures behind the language. It’s written in the style of Hughes’s play translations: very swift and bright and urgent and speakable . . . Hughes strips away the protective layers – the soundproofed ears, the double-glazed eyes – that prevent us making contact with anything outside ourselves. Right now, I can’t think of anything more important than that kind of poem. Because we’re not just here to think about literature. We’re here to try to wake up.’ Alice Oswald, The Guardian
‘It grips your heart, and your intestines, like a vice from the first page. He makes language as physical as a bruise, and in these poems beauty and tenderness blend with violence.’ John Carey, Sunday Times
‘The Moortown sequence includes some of Hughes’s finest poems . . . They are like no other poems I have read, with a degree of intensity, sanity and grace that he has never equalled.’ Anthony Thwaite, Times Literary Supplement
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