Notebooks of Ted Hughes, c. 1959–64


Estimated to date from 1959 to 1964, these loose papers are part of a larger collection of notebooks owned by the poet Ted Hughes. Originally kept in a metal ring binder folder, the notes contain fragmented diary entries and cover various subjects such as religion and philosophy.

Many of the diary entries relate to the period Hughes and Sylvia Plath spent living in Massachusetts, USA, in the late 1950s. They include the entry for 11 April 1959, which records Plath and Hughes receiving news that The Hawk in the Rain, Hughes’s first poetry collection, has been awarded the Guggenheim prize. Following it is an undated entry about a boating trip with Plath on Cape Cod, which is vividly described. These experiences later fed into Hughes’s poem ‘Flounders’, published in Birthday Letters, and the draft poem beginning ‘Winthrop. The land spit vast’ that is found in Add MS 88918/1/6.

In the extract dated 28 December, Hughes describes a walk with Plath into Heptonstall, Yorkshire, where his parents lived. On 23 June 1960, Hughes writes after the Faber cocktail party, with his observations of meeting W H Auden. The party is famously immortalised in photographs of Hughes with Auden, T S Eliot, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice.

Full title:
Edward James Hughes Papers: Notebooks
estimated 1959–5 January 1964
Manuscript / Notebook / Diary / Ephemera
Ted Hughes
Usage terms

© The Ted Hughes Estate. No copying, republication or modification is allowed for material © The Ted Hughes Estate. For further use of this material please seek formal permission from the copyright holder.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 88918/129/2

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Birthday Letters

Created by: Ted Hughes

Birthday Letters, a collection of 88 poems by the British poet Ted Hughes, was published to public and critical ...