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Birthday Letters - Ted Hughes

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Ted Hughes was always reticent about his marraige to Sylvia Plath and it seems beautifully appropriate that he should finally choose to talk about it in poetry. The poetry itself is polished, moving and thought-provoking but I suspect the real interest lies in its subject matter and you may ... Read review
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Birthday Letters - Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters - Ted Hughes

faber hb/dj,1998 1st edition

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Birthday Letters - Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters - Ted Hughes

With just two exceptions, these 88 poems, in the form of an intimate and candid narrative, ... more

are addressed to Sylvia Plath, the American poet
to whom Ted Hughes was married. They were written
over a period of more than 25 years, the first a
few years after her suicide in 1963.

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Birthday letters / Ted Hughes

Birthday letters / Ted Hughes

Edition 1998 by Faber & Faber Publishers. Immaculate throughout. Dispatch from UK

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Birthday Letters by Hughes, Ted New edition (1999) - Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters by Hughes, Ted New edition (1999) - Ted Hughes

Edition: New, Paperback, Faber and Faber

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Ariel's Gift: a commentary on Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes - Erica Wagner

Ariel's Gift: a commentary on Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes - Erica Wagner

"We have grown accustomed to confession", writes Erica Wagner at the very beginning of ... more

Ariel's Gift, an extensive commentary on Ted
Hughes' acclaimed Birthday Letters, published in
the last year of his life in 1998. Exploring the
powerful image of the destructive, and poetic,
couple through the life and writing of Ted Hughes
and Sylvia Plath, Wagner situates Birthday Letters
as a type of conversation: Hughes' engagement with
the legacy of his wife's poetry as well as her
suicide, his "return" to Plath's writing--her
titles, words, phrases haunting his--as well as
the drama of her life.In this sense, Ariel's Gift
is suspended between two traditions of reading,
tracing both the literary dialogue between poets
and poems and the life--the biographical, and
personal, incident--that goes into the writing.
Responding to the lure of Plath's intense, even
selfless, exposé of self in her writing, as well
as to what was felt to be Hughes's breaking of his
30-year silence about their relationship, Wagner
provides a chronological account of the
relationship between the two poets--an account
which then frames her readings of the poems
included in Birthday Letters. This is not,
however, an attempt to reduce lyric poetry to
personal experience. Wagner's reading is always
alert to the ways in which Hughes is (re)working
Plath's poetry and sensitive to fact that the
"memory of Sylvia Plath, and her legacy, does not
belong solely to Hughes". Read as a dialogue not
only with Plath but with the broader cultural
controversy which surrounds his relationship to
Plath's work, Wagner explores the complex texture
of Birthday Letters as Hughes's final tribute to a
unique poetry. --Vicky Lebeau

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User reviews »

1-3 of 3 reviews Show most helpful reviews first Newest first

 

Community Level 1Narda

Narda

Poetry or Prying?

AdvantagesIt will make you believe in love.

DisadvantagesYou may feel you are prying.

"Ted Hughes was always reticent about his marraige to Sylvia Plath and it seems beautifully appropriate that he should finally choose to talk about it in poetry. The poetry itself is polished, moving and thought-provoking but I suspect the real interest lies in its subject matter and you may find yourself trying to match poems to known biographical details. At times, indeed, you may feel that you are prying, and it is,of course, a very one sided account ..." Read review
22.01.2006

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

Community Level 1cora_95

cora_95

Letters to Sylvia

Advantagesfantastic use of language

Disadvantagessometimes hard going to read.

"I bought this book several years ago and have been unable to put it down since! It is an honest and fascinating account of Ted Hughes ultimately tragic relationship with the American Poet Sylvia Plath. The couple met at Cambridge University in 1956 and married shortly after. However, their marriage was turbulent and despite having two children together, they broke up in 1962. A year later Sylvia committed suicide. Ted Hughes refused to comment on ..." Read review
04.11.2008

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

Community Level 4Suzan

Suzan

Emotional rollercoaster

AdvantagesTed Hughes at his best

DisadvantagesMay need to read some of the poems over and over

"Whether or not you are a fan of the late former Poet Laureate,it has to be said that he was a master of style and linguistic technique.The poems in this collection are,of course,addressed directly to his late wife,the American poet Sylvia Plath,and were written in the years after her suicide.They are intense,vivid,emotional and often quite disturbing.I cannot pretend that they are easy poems to understand,and you wouldn't want to read them all at ..." Read review
18.10.2000

Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful

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Manufacturer's product description

With just two exceptions, these 88 poems, in the form of a narrative, are addressed to Sylvia Plath, the American poet to whom Ted Hughes was married. They were written over a period of more than 25 years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963. Intimate and candid, they cover the whole period of their relationship, from the first meeting to the aftermath of Plath's death, but are largely concerned with the psychological drama that led to the writing of her finest poems and to her death.

Product details

Type Poetry
Title Birthday Letters
Author Ted Hughes
ISBN 0374112967; 0374525811; 0571194729; 0571194737; 3473309192; 3492228801; 3518223631; 3627000153

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Listed on Ciao since 18/10/2000

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