Ted Hughes Walks in Summer 2019

 
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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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/outdoors/walks/ted_hughes_memorial.shtml

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

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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

 
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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.

 
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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.

New Issue of the Ted Hughes Society Journal

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

 
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This issue was guest-edited by James Underwood of the Ted Hughes Network and continues the publication of the wealth of scholarship showcased at the Huddersfield Symposium last year, including essays on Hughes and landscape, his relation to anthropology and the reception of Hughes's work by writers as diverse as William Golding and Nick Cave.

This issue of the Ted Hughes Society Journal is open-access and can be found here.

International Ted Hughes Conference - Registration Open

Registration is now open for 'Poetry in the Making': The 8th International Ted Hughes Conference, to be hosted by Cardiff University at Gregynog Hall, 28th-30th August 2018.

The International Ted Hughes Conference is a wonderful opportunity to meet Hughes readers from all over the world, and hear a range of papers from the forefront of the flourishing field of Hughes studies. There is also a strong tradition of poetic presence at the conference, and this year will include a reading from former National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke.

Full details of how to register can be found on the conference website.

We look forward to seeing everyone at Gregynog Hall in August!

Ted Hughes Memorial Lecture, 7th July 2018

The bi-annual Ted Hughes Memorial Lecture will be given this year by the former editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, Robert McCrum at the Ways with Words Festival of Words and Ideas taking place at Dartington Hall on 7th July 2018.

Robert McCrum will be drawing on his own memories of working with Hughes as well as his sustained reading of the poet's work to explore Hughes's fascination with William Shakespeare, and to offer a reappraisal of Hughes's prose work.

For more information about the lecture and about the full ten-day programme of the festival, please check out the website.