Ted Hughes: Lupercal
That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster.
Another mock-up book cover, using my 2016 drawing ‘The Confessor’. I maintain that if we’d been taught Ted Hughes’ poetry at secondary school my life would have been quite different. Instead, we got the usual tired old curriculum spoon fed to us, and as avid a reader as I was, I got a ‘U’ (Unclassified) for English Literature O-level. Believe you me that takes some doing, but it was a measure of just how contemptuous I felt about exams in general. I was not an ignorant oik, but I did need something to snag on the barbed wire in my head, and I think discovering Hawk In The Rain when I was 14 or so would have put me on the right path a lot sooner.