As an American kid, I knew Ted Hughes only from his superb children’s story The Iron Man (later animated by Brad Bird as The Iron Giant). I loved that book, but I was only vaguely aware that Hughes was also a poet, a great poet. Later, his work for adults captivated me. And soon I discovered his poems for children (or written “within hearing” of children). Moon-Whales is my favorite of his many collections, and I return to this otherworldly book again and again. These poems have sorcerous, incantatory, transformational power. I recently wrote the first part of an essay about speech sounds and rhyme in Hughes’s children’s poetry.
P.S. Don’t miss Julie Danielson’s interview with J. Patrick Lewis about his laureateship at Kirkus Reviews.