Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Organisation and participation in conference
Ted Hughes collection of poems “Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow” published in 1970 deals with a number of influences from various mythical cultures. The work was also written in response to Leonard Baskin, an American illustrator who had done many pen and ink drawings of crows that Hughes found interesting. As Hughes wrote this important collection between the two deaths of his wife and mistress my paper aims at pursuing two ideas: First, I want to look at how the figure of the crow as the trickster is represented in the poems and draw a parallel to the native American myth about the crow. Second, I want to look at how the prominent figure of the moon in the poems can be said to function as a gate, a dark-moon gate, through which the two goddesses turned witches exited from Hughes life leaving him to contemplate deception. Ultimately my paper will demonstrate how Hughes, through weaving totem and goddess mythologies, discloses a deep concern with the animist world-view of the first nations, now travelled to Europe to revive the old craft and traditions. What I find particularly interesting is tracing the extent to which North America’s vision quests are not only present in Hughes poems, but are also redefining the European idea of vision to mean having a mystical epiphany. It seems that with Crow Hughes is more interested in exploring the directness of power messages as they are inspired by the Native American’s access to Spirit via the notion of embodiment, rather than going with Christian animal symbolism.