Feinstein, Elaine. Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001. Feinstein’s biography recounts the events of Hughes’s life, including his marriage to poet Sylvia Plath, providing a generally sympathetic portrait of Hughes.
Gifford, Terry, and Neil Roberts. Ted Hughes: A Critical Study. Winchester, Mass.: Faber & Faber, 1981. A thematic approach to the poet’s works, with special attention to the relation of humanity to nature in Hughes’s “animal” poems.
Hamilton, Ian. A Poetry Chronicle: Essays and Reviews. Winchester, Mass.: Faber & Faber, 1973. An example of how widely divergent the critical responses to Crow have been. Hamilton points out the “excesses” of the book, such as its “bludgeoning” diction.
Moulin, Joanny, ed. Ted Hughes: Alternative Horizons. New York: Routledge, 2004. Published after Hughes’s death, this collection of essays seeks to reevaluate the poet’s work, with several pieces emphasizing its autobiographical elements. The relationship of Hughes’s work to the poetry of his estranged wife, Sylvia Plath, receives special attention.
Sagar, Keith. The Art of Ted Hughes. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. The chapter on Crow is one of the best general introductions to the volume. Provides clear explanations of various mythic sources and helpful extracts from Hughes’s essays and interviews.
_______. The Laughter of Foxes: A Study of Ted Hughes. Rev. 2d ed. Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 2006. An in-depth examination of Hughes’s life and poetry, in which Sagar demonstrates how Hughes’s life is revealed in his writings and correspondence. Includes an appendix recounting the background story of Crow’s writing and publication.
Scigaj, Leonard M. The Poetry of Ted Hughes. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1986. Examines the aesthetic and philosophical purposes behind Hughes’s most-criticized elements in Crow and in other Hughes volumes, from violent subject matter to awkward structure.
Thwaite, Anthony. Twentieth-Century English Poetry. London: Heinemann, 1978. A brief but balanced assessment of Crow in terms of its impact on contemporary poetry and its position in the Hughes canon. Thwaite cites the specific shortcomings of several negative critical reactions to the themes and the forms of Crow.