Saturday, October 25, 2008

Remembering Ted Hughes

My familiarity with Ted Hughes springs mainly from his having written in 1968 the children's story The Iron Man, upon which Andrew Bird's brilliant 1999 animated film, The Iron Giant, was based. But the man, of course, did many other things throughout his life, including writing the sort of poetry that garnered him a place among the best poets of his generation, serving as the British Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death, writing many other children's books, and also being married to Sylvia Plath.

He died of heart failure on October 28th, 1998. In West Yorkshire this week, the Elmet Trust celebrates his life with the Ted Hughes Festival, an annual event held in Hughes' possibly made-up hometown of Mytholmroyd. This year's festival will see the debut of, Dreaming of Foxes, a play based on Ted Hughes' childhood. Other events around the UK include readings of his work in London by Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, and Simon Armitage, and on November 6, the University of Exeter hosts "The Artist and the Poet", a sound recording, set to images, of Hughes' 1988 conversation with the artist Leonard Baskin.

If, like me, you don't happen to be currently residing in Britain, there's always YouTube tributes like this one--which includes interview excerpts, discussion amongst critics, and a reading from The Iron Man--to get you in the spirit.

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