chapter  5
8 Pages

Ted Hughes’s Crying Horizons: “Wind” & the Poetics of Sublimity

The composition of “Wind” was thus to Hughes a memorable moment of writing; and he seemed to regard it as representative of his poetic impulse. But if the poem commends itself as an object of close reading, it is chiefly because it brings into play, in the nutshell of its single page, the fundamental adventure of Hughes’s creation, namely, as Joanny Moulin has emphasized in his recent book, meeting the real: the Tyche theorized by Aristotle in his Physics and reinterpreted by Lacan as “la rencontre du réel” (Lacan 1973, 55), that real-whatever we mean by it: this will be my concern in this essay-being at any rate experienced as traumatic, as Lacan observes (55) and as Hughes forcefully suggests when speaking, in “Egg Head” (10)1, of the “manslaughtering shocks” from the world as it impinges on consciousness, and as an “otherness” (still to quote “Egg Head”), as an alterity on which language, or more generally the symbolic order, has no grasp because it cannot do anything but substitute its autonomous system of signifying forms. A poem, in such conditions, cannot but be a self-defeating space in which a subject of language-i. e. originating and existing in the order of language-attempts to meet the real in a field that excludes it by nature.