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Letters of Ted Hughes Hardcover – November 1, 2007
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This book, the first of its kind for a man who was known to be a very private person, further opens Ted Hughes. Similarly, in some way, to those "raw and unguarded" Birthday Letters. When Hughes sold his archive to Atlanta, he allowed for the demolition of that private wall he had built up around him. His archives are open in Atlanta, and another will be in the coming year in London, allowing further access into his life and his mind. Perhaps these letters, selected and edited by Christopher Reid, are not as candid as his private journals are, but over the many decades of Hugheses writing life, these letters show many phases of this controversial man. They make for fascinating reading and remind me of what a good writer he was. Throughout the book, Hughes constantly looks back and what had had done - creatively - and talks about what he should (or could) have done. I wonder if his late confession that writing and publishing Birthday Letters really did free him? Being on this end of the creative process allows for a unique perspective into Hugheses writing habits, publishing habits, etc. We're on the outside looking in; while at the same time on the inside looking out.Read more ›
For poets and writers not poisoned by the views of American feminists who have thoroughly martyrized his first wife, the letters provide an opportunity to truly hear the intimate voice of a special artist and eavesdrop on the British literary milieu in which he conducted himself with honor and trepidation. T.S. Eliot, Auden, Spender, Larkin, the Royals, and Heaney all make an appearance. His love of and advocacy for the work of his first wife and for the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai are striking. Americans on the scene include Leonard Baskin, the distinguished printmaker who collaborated on many books with Hughes, W.S. Merwin, especially during his years in England, with references to Donald Hall and Galway Kinnell. The emphasis on the English scene is understandable given the treatment Hughes experienced at the hands of Americans; much of his life is insular and rural to a shocking degree.Read more ›