an enormous, astonishing figure


For Hughes, poetry was a matter of archetypes and of dreams transcribed — the account here, years later, of the dream which inspired ‘The Thought-Fox’ is mesmerising. A powerful spirit, he confidently engaged with the ouija-board which has destroyed less committed minds, and took professional advice from his spirit guide, called Pan. (Apparently, Pan gave him the numbers for the pools draw, one number out from top to bottom). He thought, as these letters and Birthday Letters clearly imply, that poetry, once written, creates as much as inspires a situation, and he may have been right. Crow, that terrifying statement of nihilistic madness, was not, as we all thought, driven by the terrible suicide of his lover Assia Wevill and her murder of their daughter, Shura; it was finished on the day before Assia’s final act.

more from The Spectator here.