Ted Hughes: the development of a children's poet
Lockwood, M. (2009) Ted Hughes: the development of a children's poet. Childrens Literature in Education, 40 (4). pp. 296-305. ISSN 0045-6713
To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s10583-009-9091-2
This article looks at how Ted Hughes' poetry for children developed over more than 30 years of publication. It traces the movement from his earlier, more conventional rhyming poems, such as Meet My Folks! (1961) and Nessie the Mannerless Monster (1964), to the mature, free verse "animal poems" for older readers of Season Songs (1976c), Under the North Star (1981) and the "farmyard fable" What is the Truth? (1984). The article argues that the later lyrical poems for younger readers where Hughes returned to rhyme, The Cat and the Cuckoo (1987) and The Mermaid's Purse (1993), represent an undervalued final phase of Hughes' work for children which is rarely discussed by critics. The discussion considers Hughes' changing attitude to the concept of the "children's poet" at different periods of his career. Reference is made throughout to Hughes' own writing about children and poetry, such as Poetry in the Making (1967), and to parallel developments in his poetry for adults.