They were both writing, Hughes working on programmes for the BBC as well as producing essays, articles, reviews and talks. In 1956 he married the American poet Sylvia Plath. Growing up in the valleys and moors of Yorkshire, he developed an early fascination with animals. Corrections? The book also contained a section of notes throwing light on the context and genesis of each poem. Where that leaves respect for the truth of her life (and of mine), or for her memory, or for the literary tradition, I do not know.[34][40]. [10] By 16, he had no other thought than being a poet. He continued to live at the house in Devon, until suffering a fatal heart attack on 28 October 1998 while undergoing hospital treatment for colon cancer in Southwark, London. The depressive Plath committed suicide in 1963, garnering accolades after her … In a 1961 BBC interview, Plath describes how she met him: Fascinating Firsts by Classic Women Authors “I … Short Biography. It is very interesting and would cause a minor sensation" (4 April 1997). Cold, delicately as the dark snow, [44] At Lumb Bridge near Pecket Well, Calderdale is a plaque, installed by The Elmet Trust, commemorating Hughes's poem "Six Young Men", which was inspired by an old photograph of six young men taken at that spot. [74] Motion paid tribute to Hughes as "one of the two great poets of the last half of the last century" (the other being Philip Larkin). Sets neat prints into the snow Shadow lags by stump and in hollow Some critics were dissatisfied by his choice of poem order and omissions in the book[30] and some feminist critics of Hughes argued that he had essentially driven her to suicide and therefore should not be responsible for her literary legacy. [11], The couple moved to America so that Plath could take a teaching position at her alma mater, Smith College; during this time, Hughes taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The manner of speech renders the hard facts of things and wards off self-indulgence. There was a great mutual attraction but they did not meet again for another month, when Plath was passing through London on her way to Paris. When Hughes was seven, his family moved to Mexborough, South Yorkshire. [26] The first prize was publication by Harper, garnering Hughes widespread critical acclaim with the book's release in September 1957, and resulting in him winning a Somerset Maugham Award. His father, William, was a joiner who had fought in the First World War; his mother, Edith was a tailor who loved walking, and bought Hughes a small second-hand library of poetry after he was praised by his English teacher. Sylvia Plath (27 October 1932 – 11 Februar 1963) wis a American poet, novelist an short story writer. His Tales from Ovid (1997) contains a selection of free verse translations from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The publication of Crow shaped Hughes' poetic career as distinct from other forms of English Nature Poetry. Ted Hughes Biography Poet Writer Ted Hughes was the poet laureate of England from 1984 until his death in 1998, but his international fame will always rest on the fact that he was married to poet Sylvia Plath , who killed herself in 1963. Hughes's father, William, a joiner, was of Irish descent[12][13] and had enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought at Ypres. The poem written by Ted Hughes about the night his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath, died was inspired by a row the couple had about her leaving the country, according to a biography. In it, Hughes had four poems. [26] The couple returned to England, staying for a short while back in Heptonstall and then finding a small flat in Primrose Hill, London. "[52], A memoir by Hughes's brother Gerald was published late in 2014, Ted and I: A Brother's Memoir, which Kirkus Reviews calls "a warm recollection of a lauded poet". [53], In 2017, it was revealed that letters written by Plath between 18 February 1960 and 4 February 1963 outline how Hughes beat Plath two days before she had a miscarriage in 1961, and that Hughes told Plath he wished that she was dead. Other works soon followed, including the highly praised Lupercal (1960) and Selected Poems (1962, with Thom Gunn, a poet whose work is frequently associated with Hughes’s as marking a new turn in English verse). Its website also publishes news, and has articles on all Hughes's major works for free access. About Ted Hughes. [76], Hughes archival material is held by institutions such as Emory University, Atlanta and Exeter University. His prolific writing career yielded children’s literature, poetry, short stories, essays and literary criticism, plays, translations of ancient and … Ted Hughes was born on August 17, 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, England as Edward James Hughes. British Library. Teachers Miss McLeod and Pauline Mayne introduced him to the poets Gerard Manley Hopkins and T.S. Hughes's sister Olwyn Marguerite Hughes (1928–2016) was two years older and his brother Gerald (1920–2016) was ten years older. [11], Hughes attended Mexborough Grammar School, where a succession of teachers encouraged him to write, and develop his interest in poetry. Coming about its own business Hughes's wife, Helen Hughes, has been a city councillor in Saskatoon and Victoria. Hughes felt encouraged and supported by Hodgart's supervision, but attended few lectures and wrote no more poetry at this time, feeling stifled by literary academia and the "terrible, suffocating, maternal octopus" of literary tradition. He came to view fishing as an almost religious experience. [27] Plath typed up Hughes's manuscript for his collection Hawk In The Rain which went on to win a poetry competition run by the Poetry centre of the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of New York. At the party, he met the American poet Sylvia Plath, who was studying at Cambridge on a Fulbright Scholarship. As Plath's widower, Hughes became the executor of Plath's personal and literary estates. In the summer of 1962, Hughes began an affair with Assia Wevill who had been subletting the Primrose Hill flat with her husband. Brilliantly, concentratedly, [39] In 1989, with Hughes under public attack, a battle raged in the letters pages of The Guardian and The Independent. He worked at London Zoo as a washer-upper,[22] a post that offered plentiful opportunities to observe animals at close quarters. [62] They relate mainly to the process of editing Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, and also contain a sequence of drafts of letters in which Raine attempts to explain to Hughes his disinclination to publish Hughes's poem The Cast in an anthology he was editing, on the grounds that it might open Hughes to further attack on the subject of Sylvia Plath. [64], A memorial walk was inaugurated in 2005, leading from the Devon village of Belstone to Hughes's memorial stone above the River Taw, on Dartmoor,[65][66] and in 2006 a Ted Hughes poetry trail was built at Stover Country Park, also in Devon. [34][37] There were lawsuits, Morgan's 1972 book Monster which contained that poem was banned, and underground, pirated editions of it were published. [83], The Elmet Trust, founded in 2006, celebrates the life and work of Ted Hughes. [70], In 2010, it was announced that Hughes would be commemorated with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. The Thought-Fox 2. "[31][32] Some people argued that Hughes had driven Plath to suicide. In the 1959, he graduated with a Masters degree from Cambridge. For that work he won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award. He narrowly escaped being killed when a bullet lodged in a pay book in his breast pocket. Floundering black astride and blinding wet [20] A poem, "The little boys and the seasons", written during this time, was published in Granta, under the pseudonym Daniel Hearing. On 16 November 2013, Hughes's former hometown of Mexborough held a special performance trail, as part of its "Right Up Our Street" project, celebrating the writer's connection with the town. [citation needed], In 2017, previously unpublished letters written by Plath between 18 February 1960 and 4 February 1963 accuse Hughes of physically abusing her months before she miscarried their second child in 1961.[29]. He was best known for overseeing prominent investigations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, one of which led to the resignation of Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Within its opus he created a cosmology of the totemic Crow who was simultaneously God, Nature and Hughes' alter ego. This poem was included in Ted Hughes' prize-winning, first collection The Hawk in the Rain (1957).. [72][73] Poet Seamus Heaney and actress Juliet Stevenson gave readings at the ceremony, which was also attended by Hughes's widow Carol and daughter Frieda, and by the poets Simon Armitage, Blake Morrison, Andrew Motion and Michael Morpurgo. [18] His two years of national service (1949–51) passed comparatively easily. [11] He began to seriously explore myth and esoteric practices within as shamanism, Buddhism and alchemy, perceiving that imagination could heal dualistic splits in the human psyche and poetry was the language of the work. The free event included a two-hour ramble through Mexborough following the route of young Hughes's paper round. In 1970, he and his sister, Olwyn (26 August 1928 – 3 January 2016),[45] set up the Rainbow Press, which published sixteen titles between 1971 and 1981, comprising poems by Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Ruth Fainlight, Thom Gunn and Seamus Heaney, printed by Daedalus Press, Rampant Lions Press and the John Roberts Press. A close friend at the time, John Wholly, took Hughes to the Crookhill estate above Conisbrough where the boys spent great swathes of time. [24] She had already published extensively, having won various awards, and had come especially to meet Hughes and his fellow poet Lucas Myers. Hughes himself later suggested that the time spent writing prose was directly responsible for a decline in his health. Ted had an elder brother Gerald and a sister Alvina. [57] The book, considered Hughes's key work of prose, had a mixed reception "divided between those who considered it an important and original appreciation of Shakespeare’s complete works, whilst others dismissed it as a lengthy and idiosyncratic appreciation of Shakespeare refracted by Hughes’s personal belief system". Winds stampeding the fields under the window [48], In early 1994, Hughes became increasingly alarmed by the decline of fish in rivers local to his Devonshire home. A man of many interests, his work reflects his affinity for mythology, astrology, animals and nature, and classic literature. It later became the basis of Pete Townshend's rock opera of the same name, and of the animated film The Iron Giant. Ted Hughes was born on August 17, 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, England as Edward James Hughes. The Times headlined its story "Hughes's widow breaks silence to defend his name" and observed that "for more than 40 years she has kept her silence, never once joining in the furious debate that has raged around the late Poet Laureate since the suicide of his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath. In The Guardian on 20 April 1989, Hughes wrote the article "The Place Where Sylvia Plath Should Rest in Peace": In the years soon after [Plath's] death, when scholars approached me, I tried to take their apparently serious concern for the truth about Sylvia Plath seriously. [71] On 6 December 2011, a slab of Kirkstone green slate was ceremonially placed at the foot of the memorial commemorating T. S. The couple moved to the United States in 1957, the year that his first volume of verse, The Hawk in the Rain, was published. Crow was edited several times across Hughes' career. Till day rose; then under an orange sky Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of New York, Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women's Liberation Movement, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, Crow: From the Life and the Songs of the Crow, Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth, "Philip Hensher reviews Collected Works of Ted Hughes, plus other reviews", The 50 greatest British writers since 1945, "Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim domestic abuse by Ted Hughes", "Exclusive: Ted Hughes's poem on the night Sylvia Plath died", "Gerald Hughes, brother of Ted – obituary", "Ted Hughes Timeline - publications, life-events etc", "Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes talk about their relationship". The Poetry Society notes "the award is named in honour of Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, and one of the greatest twentieth century poets for both children and adults”. He was the last born to William Henry Hughes and Edith Hughes. Edward James "Ted" Hughes, OM (17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998) was an English poet and children's writer. In the 1954, he graduated from Pembroke College of the Cambridge University. Selected Poems of Ted Hughes Ted Hughes. 'The Rainbow Press', in, This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 17:06. Ted Hughes was born in 1930 in the Yorkshire town of Mytholmroyd in England. He attended the Mexborough Grammar School and penned his first poem when he was fifteen years of age. The Trust looks after Hughes's birthplace in Mytholmroyd, which is available as a holiday let and writer's retreat. [77] The library archive is accessible through the British Library website. Heather Clark fuses new discoveries and eye-opening analysis in an inspiring biography, "Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath." Most of the more recent generatio… [7] It was published in New Statesman on National Poetry Day, October 2010. Under a cloud of his affair, Hughes and Plath separated in the autumn of 1962 and she set up life in a new flat with the children. A selection of his poems concerning animal life was published as A Ted Hughes Bestiary (2014). [46] Hughes wrote many works for children and collaborated closely with Peter Brook and the National Theatre Company. In his Birthday Letters (1998), he addressed his relationship with Plath after decades of silence. [15] Hughes noted, "my first six years shaped everything. The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills, His father was an Irish descendent while his mother was a descent of William de Ferrières. His childhood was quiet and dominately rural. He was a tower of tenderness and strength, a great arch under which the least of poetry's children could enter and feel secure. [36] Radical feminist poet Robin Morgan published the poem "Arraignment", in which she openly accused Hughes of the battery and murder of Plath. His most significant work is perhaps Crow (1970), which whilst it has been widely praised also divided critics, combining an apocalyptic, bitter, cynical and surreal view of the universe with what sometimes appeared simple, childlike verse. One of the giants of 20th century British poetry, Ted Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire in 1930. Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. In 2008 The Times ranked Hughes fourth on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". His works also include an adaptation of Seneca’s Oedipus (1968), nonfiction (Winter Pollen, 1994), and translations. [5] Some admirers of Plath and critics blamed him for her death after the revelation of letters written by Plath, which mention that Hughes had beaten her two days before she had a miscarriage in 1961, and that he also told Plath he wished that she were dead. The £5,000 prize was previously funded from the annual honorarium that former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy received as Laureate from The Queen.[82]. In 1966, he wrote poems to accompany Leonard Baskin's illustrations of crows, which became the epic narrative The Life and Songs of the Crow, one of the works for which Hughes is best known. [63], In 1965, he founded with Daniel Weissbort the journal Modern Poetry in Translation, which involved bringing to the attention of the West the work of Czesław Miłosz, who would later go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. [33][34][35] Plath's gravestone in Heptonstall was repeatedly vandalized by those aggrieved that "Hughes" is written on the stone and attempted to chisel it off, leaving only the name "Sylvia Plath. [21], After university, living in London and Cambridge, Hughes went on to have many varied jobs including working as a rose gardener, a nightwatchman and a reader for the British film company J. Arthur Rank. In his introduction to Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, Jonathan Bate offers a “cardinal rule” of literary biography: “The work and how it came into being is what is worth writing about, what is to be respected. Speaking at the funeral, fellow poet Seamus Heaney, said: "No death outside my immediate family has left me feeling more bereft. [26] Hughes's biographers note that Plath did not relate her history of depression and suicide attempts to him until much later. [63] Animals serve as a metaphor for his view on life: animals live out a struggle for the survival of the fittest in the same way that humans strive for ascendancy and success. The page is printed. His funeral was held on 3 November 1998, at North Tawton church, and he was cremated in Exeter. In March 1960, Lupercal came out and won the Hawthornden Prize. [7], Hughes was born at 1 Aspinall Street, in Mytholmroyd in the West Riding of Yorkshire, to William Henry (1894–1981) and Edith (Farrar) Hughes (1898–1969),[8] and raised among the local farms of the Calder Valley and on the Pennine moorland. Hodgart, an authority on balladic forms. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. [4], Hughes was married to American poet Sylvia Plath from 1956 until her death by suicide in 1963 at the age of 30. And again now, and now, and now The last four stanzas of "The Thought Fox" from The Hawk in the Rain, 1957[25], Hughes and Plath dated and then were married at St George the Martyr, Holborn, on 16 June 1956, four months after they had first met. As the executor of her estate, Hughes also edited and published several volumes of her work in the period 1965–98, but he was accused of censoring her writings after he revealed that he had destroyed several journals that she had written before her suicide. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Ted Hughes was an English poet who was the Poet Laureate of England from 1984 until his death. The poet Ted Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, in 1930. Philip Larkin, the preferred nominee, had declined, because of ill health and a loss of creative momentum, dying a year later. The book began as a series of ‘talks’ that Hughes wrote, and read, for the BBC Schools Broadcasting radio series "Listening and Writing". [64] which was reviewed with favour by premiere literary critic John Bayley of Oxford University in The New York Review of Books. [11], In 1951, Hughes initially studied English at Pembroke College under M.J.C. I read the 566 pages in less than a week and was riveted by Bates's brilliant account of Hughes's poetry in relation to his life. Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose, and Diary Excerpts, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ted_Hughes&oldid=994214085, Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winners, Struga Poetry Evenings Golden Wreath laureates, University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty, Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2016, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Carter, Sebastian. Ted Hughes was one of the biggest figures in British poetry from the 1960s until his death in 1998. Sadly, Ted Hughes is often known primarily as Sylvia Plath's husband. Beset by depression made worse by her husband's affair and with a history of suicide attempts, Plath took her own life on 11 February 1963, although it is unclear whether she meant to ultimately succeed. Eliot. Ted Hughes Ted Hughes was an English poet and a prolific writer of children’s books. "[50], Nicholas Hughes, the son of Hughes and Plath, committed suicide in his home in Alaska on 16 March 2009 after suffering from depression. No death in my lifetime has hurt poets more. He later became President of the charity Farms for City Children, established by his friend Michael Morpurgo in Iddesleigh. He was one of Britain's most important poets, his work infused with myth; a love of nature, conservation, and ecology; of fishing and beasts in brooding landscapes. Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate in 1984 following the death of John Betjeman. [11] Reflecting later in Birthday Letters, Hughes commented that early on he could see chasms of difference between himself and Plath, but that in the first years of their marriage they both felt happy and supported, avidly pursuing their writing careers. Hughes became close to the family and learnt a lot about wildlife from Wholly's father, a gamekeeper. These poems make reference to Plath's suicide, but none addresses directly the circumstances of her death. At Pembroke College, Cambridge, he found folklore and anthropology of particular interest, a concern that was reflected in a number of his poems. He was named poet laureate in 1985. Flexing like the lens of a mad eye. [81] Members of the Poetry Society and Poetry Book Society recommend a living UK poet who has completed the newest and most innovative work that year, "highlighting outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life." She visited him again on her return three weeks later. Jonathan Bates's excellent Biography of Ted Hughes is, surprisingly, a page-turner. Edward "Ted" Hughes (born 1876 in Ruabon, Denbighshire Wales) was a professional footballer who played for clubs including Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Clyde and represented Wales on 14 occasions. Hughes was born at 1 Aspinall Street, in Mytholmroyd in the West Riding of Yorkshire, to William Henry (1894–1981) and Edith (Farrar) Hughes (1898–1969), and raised among the local farms of the Calder Valley and on the Pennine moorland. [51], Carol Hughes announced in January 2013 that she would write a memoir of their marriage. [58] Also in 1992, Hughes published Rain Charm for the Duchy, collecting together for the first time his Laureate works, including poems celebrating important royal occasions. [68] A Ted Hughes Festival is held each year in Mytholmroyd, led by the Elmet Trust,[69] an educational body founded to support the work and legacy of Hughes. The British Poet … First published in 1968, Ted Hughes's classic tale is a powerful tribute to peace on earth - and in all the universe. This house has been far out at sea all night, [67], On 28 April 2011, a memorial plaque for Hughes was unveiled at North Tawton by his widow Carol Hughes. Hughes wrote an introduction to a translation of Vasko Popa: Collected Poems, in the "Persea Series of Poetry in Translation," edited by Weissbort. Hughes's sister Olwyn Marguerite Hughes (1928–2016) was two years older and his brother Gerald (1920–2016)[9] was ten years older. Between trees, and warily a lame [10] In Poetry in Making he recalled that he was fascinated by animals, collecting and drawing toy lead creatures. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The rest is posthumous. His birthplace was in a large village named Mytholmroyd located in West Riding in Yorkshire. A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf; Hughes's first collection, The Hawk in the Rain (1957), attracted considerable critical acclaim. Finding aid to Ted Hughes papers at Columbia University. [44] In October 1970, Crow was published. When he was seven years old his family moved to the small town of Mexborough in South Yorkshire, and the landscape of the moors of that area informed his poetry throughout his life. 1960) and Nicholas Farrar (1962–2009) and, in 1961, bought the house Court Green, in North Tawton, Devon. "[11] In his third year, he transferred to anthropology and archaeology, both of which would later inform his poetry. [14] The stories of Flanders fields filled Hughes's childhood imagination (later described in the poem "Out"). He died on October 28, 1998 in Devon, England. 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