Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters: Examining the writing process

Lesson rationale

In these activities, students will consider Ted Hughes as a poet and a person, as well as some of the literary and personal influences on his writing. They will explore some of his poems in draft and published form, exploring the differences between the versions and the possible reasons for these differences.

Key questions in this lesson:

  • As a poet, how did Ted Hughes approach writing Birthday Letters?
  • What is revealed about Ted Hughes as a poet and as man through his drafts and notebooks?
  • How is real life experience transformed in Hughes’s poems?