New Issue of the Ted Hughes Society Journal (Volume 8, Issue 1)

The Ted Hughes Society is pleased to announce the publication of the next issue of The Ted Hughes Society Journal.


This issue features three further articles arising from the 8th International Ted Hughes Conference at Gregynog Hall, and also includes a moving tribute to the critic Al Alvarez who died last month. The papers gathered in this issue are truly international in scope, ranging from explorations of Hughes’s time in Massachusetts and in Cambridge to his engagement with Hindu mythology. There is also an evocative account of a recent walk undertaken by Society members to visit Hughes’s memorial stone, and – in a piece by out-going editor Mark Wormald which will significantly change the ways in which one of Hughes’s most famous poems is understood – the issue also explores his creative engagement with the life and gender of the pike.

This issue of the Journal is open access, and can be found here.

Ted Hughes Bibliography

The Ted Hughes Society is proud to announce the publication of the next update to the Ted Hughes Bibliography, available here on our website.

This document represents a continuation of the bibliography published by Keith Sagar and Stephen Tabor, and is the result of many months of hard work by the Society’s bibliographer Katherine Robinson (and before her the Society’s previous bibliographer, Danny O’Connor).

We hope that this bibliography will prove a major resource for all scholars and readers of Hughes, and our aim is to keep it regularly updated. To whit - please do send any additions or corrections to Katherine and we’ll endeavour to include them as soon as possible.

At present, the Bibliography is available as a downloadable document, and a web-version will be published in the coming months.

This kind of research work is only made possible by the kind support of Ted Hughes Society members. For information on how to join the Society and support our work, please see our Membership page.

The 2019 Ted Hughes Poetry Festival


This September will see the return of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival to Mexborough, South Yorkshire - a place with deep Hughesian roots… The Festival runs from 11th to 14th September and will include readings and workshops featuring poets as diverse as Andrew McMillan, Raymond Antrobus (winner of the 2019 Ted Hughes Award) and Society-member Yvonne Reddick.

For more information on this year’s programme and to book tickets to events, check out the festival’s website.

The brochure for the festival, with full listings can be downloaded here.

Ted Hughes Walks in Summer 2019


For the more intrepid readers of Hughes amongst us, there are some exciting events this summer.

First of all, the Ted Hughes Network are organising walking tours of Hughes’s Upper Calder Valley. Steve Ely, the Director of the Network writes:

A group of us from the Ted Hughes Network at Huddersfield are walking Hughes’s Upper Calder Valley (2 more-or-less full days of walking, Friday 14th and Friday 28th June, both walks beginning at 9.30am in Mytholmroyd) with cartographer Christopher Goddard, who we’ve commissioned to create three literary trail maps for our ‘Discovering Ted Hughes’s Yorkshire’ project. 

The trails are: Mytholmroyd and environs; Stubbing Wharf–Colden Valley-Heptonstall circular and Crimsworth Dene.  We’ll matching locations to poems, other writings and Hughes’s life, drawing extensively on the local researches of Donald Crossley, Nick Wilding and Ruth Crossley as well as the work of the scholarly community.

If any Society members would like to join us they’d be more than welcome.  Anyone interested should drop me an email for more details.

The Ted Hughes memorial stone, Dartmoor.

The Ted Hughes memorial stone, Dartmoor.


Then the Ted Hughes Society itself is offering a series of occasional walks. The first of these will be led by Mark Wormald to the Ted Hughes memorial stone on Dartmoor. Meet at the car park just north of Belstone (south of the A30) at 10am on Friday 2 August (OS map OL28 'Dartmoor' : 621938). Please check the details of this walk and be prepared for it:

When you are sure that you are coming it would be useful to let Prof. Terry Gifford, the Chair of the Ted Hughes Society know via email.

New Poet Laureate: Simon Armitage


Over the weekend you may have heard the news that Simon Armitage - a longtime friend and supporter of the Ted Hughes Society - was appointed to be the Poet Laureate. Professor Terry Gifford, the Chair of the Society, writes:

The Ted Hughes Society offers congratulations to the new Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, whose championing of the work of Hughes over the years has supported both ordinary, and especially young, readers of Hughes, together with Hughes scholarship. Of course this appointment is a recognition of Simon's own poetry and his work on behalf of poetry. As he writes in 'Thank You for Waiting': 'We now extend our invitation to Exclusive, Superior, Privilege and Excelsior members' right down to 'Sludge, Clinker, Splinter and Soot: / all you people are now free to board'. We will and are looking forward to the ride.

Terry Gifford

Chair, Ted Hughes Society

In this video, Simon talks about some of his hopes for his new position as Laureate, starting with an acknowledgement of the role Ted Hughes played in ‘waking up’ a sleepy student to the reality that ‘poetry was going to be my thing’:

Roger Furniss: Ted Hughes and Exmoor's Rivers

For those who are lucky enough to live in or have access to the South West of England this month, there’s an exciting Hughes-related event taking place as part of the Simonsbath Festival. On Wednesday 22nd May 2019 at 19.30 in St Luke’s Church, Simonsbath, Roger Furniss - a friend of Hughes’s from the Devonian fishing community - will give a talk on Hughes’s love of the rivers of Devon, fishing and on the current conservation efforts on these rivers.


To read more about the event - which will also feature a reading of some of Hughes’s poetry, please see the event listing where you can also purchase tickets.

New Issue of The Ted Hughes Society Journal

After what was a very busy year for Hughes Studies, 2019 is starting with another significant development, the new issue of The Ted Hughes Society Journal.

THSJ 7.2.jpg

This issue represents the first publication to be drawn from the 8th International Ted Hughes Conference, ‘Poetry in the Making’, hosted by Cardiff University in August 2018. There are essays on a range of aspects of Hughes’s work, including a re-evaluation of his relationship with Philip Larkin, an exploration of the cultural history of Hughes’s Devon, and a consideration of his engagement with the work of Dante. Also sure to be of interest is a cogent critique of the somewhat-perplexing news coverage of the supposed debt of Hughes’s poem ‘Pike’ to the work of Amy Lowell.

This issue of the Journal is open access and can be found here.

Modern Poetry in Translation - Hungary and Ted Hughes

Continuing the recent trend of news surrounding Ted Hughes and translation, the latest issue of Modern Poetry in Translation will be of significant interest to all Hughes readers.


In a Winter City: Hungary and Ted Hughes is a special issue of the magazine published to mark the 20th anniversary of Hughes’s death and to fulfill some of the poet’s plans for the magazine he co-founded in 1965 with Daniel Weissbort by offering a focus on the poetry of Hungary.

The issue can be ordered either as part of a subscription to the magazine or individually.

Five Views of Ted Hughes

Hughes has been much in the media of late, with a recent sequence of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay dedicated to ‘Five Views of Ted Hughes’.

These broadcasts (available on the BBC website throughout the world) feature five contemporary poets exploring five aspects of Hughes’s work, beginning with current Oxford Professor of Poetry (and long-time friend to the Society) talking on ‘Hughes and Tenderness’.

To hear these essays in full, visit the BBC website or else subscribe to the podcast version of The Essay, available throughout the world.

New Ted Hughes Letters at the British Library

The British Library recently acquired the correspondence from Ted Hughes to Elizabeth Hicklin (nee Grattidge), a girlfriend of Hughes’s at Cambridge, prior to his meeting with Sylvia Plath.

To announce the opening of this important addition to the Hughes archive at the British Library, Hughes scholar and Society member Di Beddow has written a brilliant account of the background to the acquisition, Hughes’s relationship with Hicklin and the exciting avenues these letters promise to open in the study of Hughes’s earliest work.

For those who have yet to explore the substantial (and publicly available) Hughes resources available at the BL, their ‘Ted Hughes: Discovering Literature’ page is a great place to start.

Ted Hughes and Shakespeare

In July 2018 Robert McCrum delivered the Ted Hughes Memorial lecture as part of the Ways with Words Festival of Words and Ideas at Dartington Hall.

For those who weren’t lucky enough to hear this lecture in person, there is now an essay version available on the Guardian website.


This is a lucid and helpful charting of the many complex pathways through Hughes’s Shakespearean labyrinth, and would make a great starting point for anyone contemplating starting in on Hughes’s longest work, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being.

Ted Hughes's Translations - A Modern Poetry in Translation Event

One of the most important of Ted Hughes’s many contributions to the life of poetry beyond his own writing was his co-founding of the journal Modern Poetry in Translation. To mark the twentieth anniversary of his death, MPT are now hosting an evening dedicated to Hughes’s own translation work.


A combination of readings of Hughes’s translations, discussion and the chance to hear new poetry written in response to these works, the event is taking place at The Other Palace on 10th October 2018.

Admission is free, but booking is essential. For more information and to book tickets please visit the event’s website.

The Iron Woman - Musical Stage Adaptation

Some exciting news has come out via Faber and Faber about a new musical adaptation of Ted Hughes’s The Iron Woman, to be staged in a workshop production 12th-13th October 2018 at The Other Palace, Victoria, London.


Adapted from Hughes’s children’s book by Mike Kenny, with songs by Pippa Cleary and directed by Luke Sheppard, the production will be a unique chance to see this environmental fable brought to life, twenty five years after its first publication.

For more information and to book tickets for the performances, please visit The Other Palace website.

And here is Faber’s press release for the event.

Sylvia Plath: Inside The Bell Jar - BBC Documentary

For those who may have missed it, BBC 2 recently screened a profound and thoughtful documentary on Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar. The film, Sylvia Plath: Inside the Bell Jar featured interviews with many of Plath's friends and contemporaries, and the first televised interview with Frieda Hughes on the subject of her mother. 

The documentary is available within the United Kingdom via the BBC's iPlayer service until 10th September 2018.

Peter K. Steinberg has written an interesting post on some of the background to the film (and offers a few interesting quibbles) over on his Sylvia Plath Info Blog.

Link: Ted Hughes Trunk and Scrapbook at Emory

The Sylvia Plath Info Blog maintained by Peter K. Steinberg (the renowned Plath scholar and co-editor of the recent magisterial edition of The Letters of Sylvia Plath) has long been a source of invaluable information for those interested in either Plath or Ted Hughes's works.

Two recent posts are particularly worth checking out for those interested in Hughes.

Ted Hughes Scrapbook at Emory - in which Peter provides a detailed account of the publication scrapbook for Hughes started and compiled by Sylvia Plath.

Ted Hughes's Trunk at Emory - which reveals that some of the contents of the trunk of sealed materials included in Hughes's sale of his archive to Emory University were incorporated into his publicly-available archive there in 2003.

Ted Hughes in Context

This month has seen the publication of what promises to be a milestone in Ted Hughes scholarship, Ted Hughes in Context


This volume in Cambridge University Press's prestigious 'In Context' series has been edited by the Chair of the Ted Hughes Society, Professor Terry Gifford, and brings together both established and new voices in Hughes studies to present thirty-six essays addressing a wide range of perspectives on Hughes's works and his social, literary, historical and cultural engagements.

For more information on this important new book, and for the chance to purchase it from CUP, please click here

Lorraine Kerslake - The Voice of Nature in Ted Hughes's Writing for Children

The Society is delighted to draw attention to a recent publication by one of our members, Dr Lorraine Kerslake of the University of Alicante.



Her book The Voice of Nature in Ted Hughes's Writing for Children: Correcting Nature's Error was published by Routledge this year and breaks new ground in exploring Hughes's writing for children from an ecocritical perspective. For more information and to purchase this book from the publisher please click here.