Lupercal, Ted Hughes's second book, contains many of the unsettling and vivid animal poems for which Hughes is so rightly celebrated, including 'The Bull Moses', 'Hawk Roosting' and 'Pike'.
This is the second published book of verse by this young British poet. His first, The Hawks in the Rain, won the Poetry Centre's first Publication Award. Marianne Moore said of that book- "The talent is unmistakable. The work has focus, is aglow with feeling, with conscience." Lupercal does not quite live up to the promise of The Hawks. What the poems principally lack is the degree of focus displayed in the earlier volume. Hughes is still a man of recognizable talent, but, now in groping a bit more- still toward growth- one can only hope. A few are very fine- the title piece is an exquisite small poem about a snowdrop; for cat lovers a brace of first rate poems about cats. Hughes is clear, forthright and abundant, but his direction is not quite apparent. His talent seems not to have reached maturity, but all poetry lovers are alerted. (Kirkus Reviews)