Birthday Letters

Birthday Letters

Book - 1998
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Formerly Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II, the late Ted Hughes (1930-98) is recognized as one of the few contemporary poets whose work has mythic scope and power. And few episodes in postwar literature have the legendary stature of Hughes's romance with, and marriage to, the great American poet Sylvia Plath. The poems in Birthday Letters are addressed (with just two exceptions) to Plath, and were written over a period of more than twenty-five years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963. Some are love letters, others haunted recollections and ruminations. In them, Hughes recalls his and Plath's time together, drawing on the powerful imagery of his work--animal, vegetable, mythological--as well as on Plath's famous verse. Countless books have discussed the subject of this intense relationship from a necessary distance, but this volume--at last--offers us Hughes's own account. Moreover, it is a truly remarkable collection of pems in its own right.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, [1998]
Edition: First Farrar, Straus, and Giroux edition.
Copyright Date: ©1998
ISBN: 9780374112967
0374112967
Branch Call Number: 821.91 H874b
Characteristics: 197 pages ; 22 cm

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debwalker Oct 07, 2010

Hughes died in 1998, the same year Birthday Letters was published. The collection addressed his marriage to Plath, but did not specifically comment on her death.

Plath, a poet and novelist best known for The Bell Jar, killed herself in February 1963, shortly after separating from Hughes.

In October 2010, a new poem "Last Letter" has surfaced:

“What happened that night, your final night?”
................
“And I had started to write when the telephone

Jerked awake, in jabbering alarm,

Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.

Then a voice like a selected weapon

Or a measured injection,

Coolly delivered its four words

Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’”

It’s believed that the poem was written in the early ’70s.

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