Ted Hughes – Letters & Lovers

What an insane chance … to have private family struggles turned into a bestselling literature of despair & martyrdom.

Birthday LettersSo wrote Ted Hughes to a friend … It is nearly ten years since the publication of Ted Hughes Birthday Letters, the controversial collection of poems dealing with his famous marriage to poet Sylvia Plath.

Now The Letters of Ted Hughes have been published (selected and edited by Christopher Reid). The substantial 800 page collection is reviewed in The Guardian as a “magnificent and revealing selection.

A Lover of unreasonTed had another doomed relationship, with the beautiful and tempestuous Assia Wevill. He wrote of her in “Birthday letters” as ”slightly filthy with erotic mystery … A German / Russian Israeli with the gaze of a demon / Between curtains of black Mongolian hair”. The book A lover of unreason tells the intensely moving story of her life and relationship with the poet

In another account of the fatal attraction of Ted, author Emma Tennant’s memoirs Burnt Diaries tells of a relationship with him in the 1970s. She also wrote a novel Sylvia and Ted on the literary love triangle of Sylvia, Ted and Assia.