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.