River by Ted Hughes
River by Ted Hughes


by Ted Hughes
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First published in 1983, "River" celebrates fluvial landscapes, their creatures and their regenerative powers. Inspired by Hughes' love of fishing and by his environmental activism, the poems are a deftly and passionately attentive chronicle of change over the course of the seasons. West Country rivers predominate ("The West Dart" and "Torridge"), but other poems imagine or recall Japanese rivers or Celtic rivers, and "The Gulkana" explores an ancient Alaskan watercourse. At its core the sequence rehearses, in various settings, from winter to winter, the life-cycle of the salmon. All this, too, is stitched into the torn richness, the epic poise that holds him so steady in his wounds, so loyal to his doom, so patient in the machinery of heaven.