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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ted Hughes To Be Commemorated Tonight With A Stone In Poet's Corner

Sir Andrew Motion, on BBC radio 4 this morning, explained his support for the campaign to place a stone for Ted Hughes in Poet's Corner, which culminates tonight in a ceremony, overseen by Seamus Heaney: powerful advocates indeed.  Motion claims that "Hughes is one of the two or three greatest poets of the twentieth century" - which is a staggering claim, not easily substantiated.  Yeats, Eliot, Stevens, Hardy, Thomas, Larkin, Auden, and indeed Plath, would be jostling for a place in that league table, I am sure (among others).  But that is to carp, perhaps.  Despite the fact that Hughes apparently led a destructive personal life it appears the final reward for "major" male poets in England is to be eternally lauded.  Hughes is a large presence, and a strong influence on many younger poets, still - particularly due to the violence of his diction and syntax, and his unusual perspective on nature and animal life.  In England, at least, it is now safe to say that Ted Hughes is one of the greats.
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