Crow – 7 Days of Books

“Black was the heart
Black the liver, black the lungs
Unable to suck in light”

This week I was tagged by my friend on Facebook to share seven books over seven days that I love. I rarely use Facebook these days (I’m not that great with social media), but it seemed like a cute little challenge so I thought I would share my picks on here.

As today is National Poetry Day, I thought it fitting to begin with a poetry collection I recently read and loved – Ted Hughes’ Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow.

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The collection follows the character of ‘Crow’, an anthropomorphised animal who displays different qualities depending on the individual poem, but who is, for the most part, a grotesque being. Written by Hughes as a way to deal with the suicide of his wife Sylvia Plath in 1963 and the suicide of his partner Assia Wevill in 1969, the collection is an amalgamation of his grief, with Crow serving as its personification.

Having lost both of my Grandparents last year, it was not hard to identify with the grief present in the poems. It is brutally raw and ugly, angry and depressed, and as such, is one of the best depictions of grief I have ever encountered. I recently read Max Porter’s Grief is a Thing With Feathers, which is a narrative crafted around the premise of Crow, and whilst it too is a book filled with loss, it did not grab me in the same way.

Sometimes we read books at exactly the right moment in our lives – had I read this two years ago, I doubt it would have left the same impression. But I was ready for Crow, and the horrid, twisted thing gave me some catharsis.

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