Birthday Letters

Birthday Letters

Paperback

By (author) Ted Hughes

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  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Poetry
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 196mm x 18mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 2 January 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0571194737
  • ISBN 13: 9780571194735
  • Sales rank: 21,808

Product description

Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters are addressed, with just two exceptions, to Sylvia Plath, the American poet to whom he was married. They were written over a period of more than twenty-five years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963, and represent Ted Hughes's only account of his relationship with Plath and of the psychological drama that led both to the writing of her greatest poems and to her death. The book became an instant bestseller on its publication in 1998 and won the Forward Prize for Poetry in the same year.

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Author information

Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was born in Yorkshire. His first book, The Hawk in the Rain, was published in 1957 by Faber and Faber and was followed by many volumes of poetry and prose for adults and children, including The Iron Man (1968). He received the Whitbread Book of the Year for both Tales from Ovid (1997) and Birthday Letters (1998). He was Poet Laureate from 1984, and in 1998 he was appointed to the Order of Merit.

Review quote

"An extraordinary book . . . [Hughes's] subject is Plath herself--how she looked and moved and talked, her pleasures, rages, uncanny dreams, and many terrors, what was good between them and where it went wrong."—A. Alvarez, "The New Yorker" "The critics who are urging us to regard these poems as masterpieces are right. Their intensity of feeling, the clarity of their imagery, the precision, energy, simplicity, and fluidity of their language are still striking."—Paul Levy, "The Wall Street Journal" "An emotional, direct, regretful, and entranced [tone] pervades the book's strongest poems, which are quiet and thoughtful and conversational."—Katha Pollitt, "The New York Times Book Review" "Most of the poems in "Birthday Letters" have a wonderful immediacy and tenderness that's new to Hughes's writing, a tenderness that enables him to communicate Plath's terrors as palpably as her own verse, and to convey his own lasting sense of loss and grief. . . . They sho

Editorial reviews

Out of the memories of his anguished marriage to poetic genius Sylvia Plath, who killed herself in 1963 at the age of 30, Hughes sculpted an extraordinary collection of poetry, which he launched only months before he died in 1998. The 'letters', 88 in all, house unassimilated, unpoeticized experiences of intense pain through which violent imagery sends shock waves. We read this terrible saga on many levels - as an 11th-hour testimony in a literary cause celebre; as a writer's deepest imaginative concerns published after decades of self-censorship; as a chilling account of a marriage that was baffled and painful from the start. Birthday Letters was awarded the 1998 Whitbread Prize. (Kirkus UK)