Mr. Motion continued: "On the face of it, his poems are about animals, nature and wildlife, but careful reading allows us to see them as a metaphorical or allegorical way of reconciling past and present." The poems in "Birthday Letters," Mr. Hughes's often heartbreaking account of his relationship with Plath, were written much more simplistically, as straightforward narratives that behave like prose. When the book was published, the poet's legion of friends, who knew him as a loyal and generous man who was almost bigger than life, with his imposing physical presence, his strong, eagle-like face, his enormous, bushy eyebrows and his thatch of thick unruly hair, said that he had finally succeeded in exorcising the ghosts of the past.
(New York Times. 1998.)