Ted Hughes &
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According to biographer Elaine
Feinstein, Ted Hughes's marriage to the American poet Sylvia
Plath marked his entire life, and he never completely recovered
from her suicide in 1963. As a poet he was successful with publications
such as The Hawk in the Rain (1957), Lupercal (1960), which won
the Somerset Maugham Award (1960) and the Hawthornden Prize (1961),
and Crow (1970), a series of story-poems. Hughes was offered the
post of laureate in December 1984. In January 1985, he wrote to
his friend Alvin Alvarez that since his appointment, he now had
several million people a week telling him how to write, instead
of the usual 30 or 40. On display is the first edition of his first
book, The Hawk in the Rain, the US edition of Moon-whales, illustrated
by Leonard Baskin, and Birthday Letters, his controversial sequence
of lyrics cast as continued conversations with his wife Sylvia Plath.
Hughes died of cancer on 28 October 1998.
Ted Hughes, The Hawk in the Rain (London: Faber and Faber, 1957.
Bra. PR 6058.U37 H3), Moon-whales and Other Moon Poems (New York:
Viking Press, 1976. Cen. PR 6058 U37 M6) and Birthday Letters (London:
Faber and Faber, 1998. Cen. PR 6058.U37 B57)
By writing poems, and filling
various posts as editor of Poetry Review (1981-83), Poetry Editor
and Editorial Director at London publishers Chatto & Windus
(1983-89), Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Chairman
of the Arts Council of England's Literature Panel since 1996,
Andrew Motion (b. 1952- ) has championed poetry. In 1999 he succeeded
Ted Hughes as laureate. Of the post he wrote: 'There's
no formal requirement to write anything, but an expectation -
derived from precedent - that major events in the Royal calendar
will be tackled in verse. My own plan has been to develop a 'doing'
side to the job, which concentrates on education. And to place the
'Royal poems' in a picture of 'national'
ones.' The salary is now £5000, with a re-introduced
'butt of sack' from the Sherry Institute of Spain. On
display are some of his works.
Andrew Motion, The Pleasure Steamers (Manchester: Carcanet New Press,
1978. Cen. PR 6063.O842 P57), The Price of Everything (London: Faber
and Faber, 1994. Cen. PR 6063.O842 P7) and as editor, Here to Eternity:
An Anthology of Poetry (London: Faber and Faber 2001. Cen. PR 1175