» » River

Download River epub

by Peter Keen,Ted Hughes

A series of 43 poems explore the life around a river and the relationship between humanity and the world of nature
Download River epub
ISBN: 0571130887
ISBN13: 978-0571130887
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Poetry
Author: Peter Keen,Ted Hughes
Language: English
Publisher: Faber & Faber; illustrated edition edition (September 5, 1983)
Pages: 128 pages
ePUB size: 1393 kb
FB2 size: 1100 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 248
Other Formats: doc azw mbr lrf

Steel balls
Like the novel Blood Knots, this collection of poems by one of the giants of the 20th century is about fish and fishing, sort of; but obviously about much more. Any angler would enjoy it, and most other would, too. Makes me with I had had a chance to fish with the guy.
'A strange tree
Is the water of life--' TH from Visitation

I bought this collection of Ted Hughes' poetry a couple of years after it had come out, around 1985 or so. I had been a reader of his since first reading Crow a few years back and was eager to read another new work from 'the master.' I think my initial fascination with his writing was his exciting and mind-blowing imagery and his wide range of metaphors, mostly unseen anywhere else. As the years went by I began noticing the sometimes delicate structure of his wide open prose—how one sentence or verse led so perfectly into the next and how only one word could change the meaning of the entire poem. His ability to write an entire book of poems all related to the exact same subject, and to do so successfully, is nothing short of genius.
River is that kind poetry collection. Over seventy poems, all more of less related to his fascination with rivers and his obsessive hobby of salmon fishing. There isn't a whole lot about fishing here, but there is a lot concerning the river, or rivers if you like because there are lots of rivers here, at least eight by name, such as the Dee, the Sligachan, the Barrow, the Dart, the Torridge and more located in such diverse places such as England, Scotland, Ireland, and even a couple in Alaska. But in actuality, it is about a year in the life of The river, the One river that represents all rivers that, he writes,

'Fallen from heaven, lies across
The lap of his mother, broken by world.'

The metaphors here are many and startling and the comparisons range from a beautiful woman, to the essence of music, to a groom, a bridegroom, a dark wine, a daughter trying to escape her ruthless father, to a grim cesarean, and others. The writing can be delicate at times:

Breathes on the sliding glass. The river...
Is becoming wintry.

Or Hughes can turn to a stone-ground stark perception:

'Something evil about the sunken river
In its sick bed darkness. I stood in a grave
And felt the evil of fish.'

Throughout it all, there is the hero of the river, the Salmon, who haunts the collection even when not specifically mentioned by name. To Hughes he is,

'...the eye of ravenous joy—king of infinite liberty
In the flashing expanse, the bloom of sea life,
On the surge-ride of energy'.

But of course Hughes doesn't hold back when he writes about the mating ritual and sudden death moments of the salmon either and writes,

'In the October light
He hangs there, patched with leper cloths.
Death has already dressed him
In her clownish regimental's,'

Hughes mostly writes here, as he usually does, in the role of an outside observer looking in on his subject and rarely puts himself in the first person into these poems except on a few occasions, The Gulkana for insistence,

'Word by word
The burden of the river moved in me
Like lovesickness.
Woke deeper, a secret bleeding of mourning
In my cave of body.'

Lovesick is exactly the word to describe Hughes' obsessive love of nature and the ultimate power within that drives it. This is one of Ted Hughes' best collections and it is just a shame that he died at only 68 with so much more wonder yet to be put to paper.
This sequence of poems, RIVER, contains Ted Hughes' greatest poem, and one of tje greatest of the past cemtury, THE OCTOBER SALMON. The salmon is seen as a salmon, not as a symbol of something else, of man, or art, or nature. It is as positive a poem about rebirth in death as I've ever read. There are three poems with salmon in the title in RIVER, but THE OCTOBER SALMON is the great achievement. This poem is both a keystone of and yet falls outside the scheme of Hughes' mystical beliefs about the fallen world. One can read it both ways.