His 2016 short-story collection The Pier Falls was a revelation: it blasted into space and followed Victorian explorers into the jungle; injected Greek myth with savage realism in "The Island", and in "Wodwo" brought the medieval mystery of Gawain and the Green Knight into the present day.
It's a stunningly effective combination of the quotidian and the mythic that, as in "The Island" or "Wodwo", pins impossibility to the page.
When Seamus Heaney reviewed Hughes' Wodwo
in 1967, he commended Hughes for the "quest for the father country of the mind" ("Book Review" 50-52).
The wisdom and wit of Sufi poets, for instance Bulleh Shah's existential questing in 'Bullah, ki janaan main kaun?' strikes a congruent chord with Lear's "Who can tell me who I am?", a question that resonates through the play, and vaulting over time, is embedded in the heart of Ted Hughes' 'Wodwo
I then discuss in detail two examples from different genres: the poetic persona in Ted Hughes's poem "Wodwo" and the first-person narrator in Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In the rest of the essay, I discuss in detail the peculiar uses of deixis in Hughes's "Wodwo" and Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and their implications for the textual projection of the protagonists' minds.
But he went on to publish prolifically, with volumes of poetry such as Wodwo
(1967), Crow (1970), Wolfwatching (1989), and New Selected Poems, 1957-1994 (1995).
In RSA reported from cultivated land in Cape Flats (EC) and Karkloof Benvie Farm (KZN); from natural biotopes in Ndema/Grotto, Wodwo
Farm near Nottingham Road, and Sevenoaks (KZN); and from Newlands Forest in the Cape Peninsula (WC).
Two of Hughes's major volumes, Wodwo
and Gaudete, challenge traditional expectations by interspersing short stories, drama, and prose narrative with sections of poetry.
In the foreword Hughes writes, "These nine pieces hang together, in my mind, as an accompaniment to my poems." In fact, six of them are taken from his 1967 collection Wodwo
and other writings.
Subsequent volumes include Lupercal (1960); Wodwo
(1967), a collection of stories, verse, and prose poems, Crow
The title of Hughes's poem "Still Life" (Wodwo
) captures vividly the irony of the will's dynamism inspiriting, as it were, even such seemingly static phenomena as an outcropping of stone and a harebell - the former the lowest grade of the will's objectification and the latter the next above it.