Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
Frieda Hughes's fables cast light on two worlds, giving mythic dimension to contemporary life - depicting with an artist's keen eye the particular nature of beast, fish and fowl. Strange creatures, fabled beings, and inner voices come to life in startling poems set both in city streets and hospitals as well as in psychic landscapes and reinvented tales.
Frieda Hughes’s first collection of poems extends the distinctive imaginative territory of her paintings and children’s books. In the fairytale world of Wooroloo, light defines dark while dark extends its shadows into the brightest of lives. Fire is the dominant element of these poems: as in her recent paintings, created phoenix-like from the bushfire which destroyed her studio in Wooroloo, her once paradisal home in Australia.
Her fables cast light on two worlds, giving a mythic dimension to a contemporary world of husbands and wives, hospital patients and social outcasts, at the same time as they depict with an artist’s keen eye the particular nature of beast, fish and fowl.
Strange creatures and fabled beings come to life in her poems, so that birds and birdmen, fathers and family, the dying and the dead, swarm through the psyche like flames in a burning forest.
The self she depicts is tested by loss, danger, fear and abandonment, yet transformed through experience into a world beyond nihilism and despair: a place which makes possible truth, strength, hope and the redemptive powers of love. Though a writer of unusual literary pedigree, she is first and foremost an original voice, with her own compelling stories to tell.
North America: HarperCollins
Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press