Ted Hughes

The English poet Ted Hughes was Sylvia's husband from 1956 till her death in 1963, they lived together until autumn 1962. Shortly before his death he published a collection of poems remembering his first wife and their life together, Birthday Letters , published by Faber and Faber in England, by Farrar Straus & Giroux in the U.S. It contains 88 poems that cover his life with and without Sylvia, all poems were written after her death, some were already published elsewhere as early as the 1980s but went largely unnoticed.
This collection has meanwhile become one of Hughes' most famous and best loved books. You can order the book online at amazon.com:
Birthday Letters, hardcover
Birthday Letters, paperback
or at amazon.co.uk
Birthday Letters, hardcover
Birthday Letters, paperback

Recently, the Collected Poems of Ted Hughes have been published, containing more or less all his published poetry, including the very rare editions Howls and Whispers and Cappriccios with poems about Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill respectively. The poems in Howls and Whispers are similar to the Birthday Letters poems but somewhat more personal and private. This book offers an opportunity to get all of Hughes' poetry, including poems that only appeared in magazines and newspapers but were not included in previous collections. Highly recommended!

Ted Hughes died of cancer on 28th October 1998 at age 68.
A comprehensive Ted Huges website can be found at http://www.ted-hughes.net (maintained by Claas Kazzer).

The following two poems reflect on Sylvia Plath.

from The City

Your poems are like a dark city centre.
Your novel, your stories, your journals, your letters, are suburbs
Of this big city.
The hotels are lit like office blocks all night
With scholars, priests, pilgrims. It's at night
Sometimes I drive through. I just find
Myself driving through, going slow, simply
Roaming in my own darkness, pondering
What you did. Nearly always
I glimpse you - at some crossing,
Staring upwards, lost, sixty year old.

by Ted Hughes,
printed in The London Sunday Times (international edition), October 26, 1997, Book Section, Page 8-4.

from The Rag Rug

Somebody had made one. You admired it.
So you began to make your rag rug.
You needed to do it. Played on by lightnings
You needed an earth. Maybe. Or needed
To pull something out of yourself-
Some tapeworm of the psyche. I was simply
Happy to watch your scissors being fearless
Whenever you worked at your carpet I felt happy.
Then I could read Conrad's novels to you.
I could cradle your freed mind in my voice,
Chapter by chapter, sentence by sentence,
Word by word: "Heart of Darkness,"
I dreamed of our house
Before we ever found it. A great snake
Lifted its head from a well in the middle of the house
Exactly where the well is, beneath its slab,
In the middle of the house.
A golden serpent, thick as a child's body,
Eased from the opened well. And poured out
Through the back door, a length that seemed unending-

by Ted Hughes,
printed in the New Yorker
published in Birthday Letters

more books from amazon.com

see here for the
complete list
  • Ted Hughes: Collected Poems
  • Middlebrook, Diane: Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, Portrait of a Marriage
  • Feinstein, Elaine: Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet In this insightful biography, the first written since Hughes's death, Elaine Feinstein explores an altogether more complex situation, throwing new light on his relationship with his lover Assia Wevill, who later killed herself along with their young daughter. --Synopsis
    Unfortunately, the book does not hold what it promises in its title, it concentrates more on the life than on the poet and fails to shed light on how his life influenced his writing. --Anja Beckmann
  • Ted Hughes: Difficulties of a Bridegroom The first collection of short fiction by Ted Hughes. Taken from 40 years of occasional story writing, the amazing descriptive powers and preoccupation with themes of violence, estrangement, and arduous testing for which Ted Hughes's poetry is celebrated across the world are vividly present in every tale .
  • Ted Hughes: Wolfwatching The fourteenth collection from England's Poet Laureate, containing several characteristic poems, in which nature is presented with striking exactitude, unclouded by sentiment. But Hughes breaks new ground with a number of intimate poems that memorialize members of his family as they were in his youth.
  • Ted Hughes: Tales from Ovid (adapted to the stage) England's poet laureate Ted Hughes first turned his hand to Ovid's Metamorphoses when he--along with other prominent English-language poets such as Seamus Heaney, Amy Clampitt, and Charles Simic--contributed poems to the anthology After Ovid. In the three years following After Ovid's publication, Hughes continued working with the Metamorphoses, eventually completing the 24 translations collected here. Culling from 250 original tales, Hughes has chosen some of the most violent and disturbing narratives Ovid wrote, including the stories of Echo and Narcissus, Bacchus and Pentheus, and Semele's rape by Jove. Classical purists may be offended at the occasional liberties Hughes takes with Ovid's words, but no one will quarrel with the force and originality of Hughes's verse, or with its narrative skill. This translation is an unusual triumph--a work informed by the passion and wit of Ovid, yet suffused with Hughes's own distinctive poetic sensibility.
  • Ted Hughes: Tales from Ovid His vigorous, fluid poetry is drama itself and demands to be spoken aloud. Tim Supple and Simon Reade take ten of the tales --including the stories of Echo and Narcissus, of Venus and Adonis, of Pyramus and Thisbe, among others--and transform them into elegant works for the stage. Erotic, violent, and magical, this dramatization of Tales from Ovid realizes the immense power of Hughes's original text, which Michael Hofmann celebrated in The Times (London) as "one of the great works of the century."
  • Ted Hughes: The Iron Giant When earth needs a hero to battle the fearsome dragon-bat from outer space, its unlikely hero is the Iron Giant. The 30th anniversary edition of this children's classic precedes a full-length animated feature film from Warner Brothers.
  • Paul Bentley: Poetry of Ted Hughes : Language, Illusion and Beyond (Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature
  • Ekbert Faas: The Unaccommodated Universe : With Selected Critical Writings by Ted Hughes and Two Interviews I am reading this book and recommend it highly.

    recommended reading:

  • Robert Graves: The White Goddess : A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth This book influenced both Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath considerably.

more books from amazon.co.uk

Sylvia Plath Homepage - The Poetry of Sylvia Plath - Poetry inspired by Sylvia Plath - Bibliography - Plath Links