Crow (poetry)

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First edition cover
(Faber and Faber, 1970)

Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow is a literary work by Ted Hughes, first published in 1970 by Faber and Faber, and one of Hughes' most important works. Writing for the Ted Hughes Society journal in 2012, Neil Roberts, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Sheffield, said:

Crow holds a uniquely important place in Hughes oeuvre. It heralds the ambitious second phase of his work, lasting roughly from the late sixties to the late seventies, when he turned from direct engagement with the natural world to unified mythical narratives and sequences. It was his most controversial work: a stylistic experiment which abandoned many of the attractive features of his earlier work, and an ideological challenge to both Christianity and humanism. Hughes wrote Crow, mostly between 1966 and 1969, after a barren period following the death of Sylvia Plath. He looked back on the years of work on Crow as a time of imaginative freedom and creative energy, which he felt that he never subsequently recovered. He described Crow as his masterpiece...[1]

The book is a collection of poems about the character Crow, which borrows extensively from many world mythologies, notably trickster mythology and Christian mythology.[1] A central core group of poems in the work can be seen as an attack on Christianity.[1] The first Crow poems were written in response to a request by the American artist, Leonard Baskin, who had at the time produced several pen and ink drawings of crows.[1]

It is quoted briefly in the liner notes of Paul Simon's song My Little Town,[2] and in the epigraph of Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge.[3]

The collection was also the key inspiration for the 2009 album The Unkindness of Crows by the American heavy metal band Eagle Twin.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Crow - The Ted Hughes Society Journal". 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Cook, Toby (14 October 2009). "Eagle Twin Interview: The Unkindness Of Crows". The Quietus. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 

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