Ted Hughes: Timeline

© Ann Skea

This list of Ted Hughes’ publications, life-events and interests is not comprehensive. It was compiled from my own collection of books, newspaper articles, recordings, letters and notes to give an overview of important and formative influences which have helped to shape his work. It also suggests the date at which some of his works originated.

It is best used in conjunction with a bibliography such as that produced by Keith Sagar and Steven Tabor (Sagar, K and Tabor, S. Ted Hughes: A Bibliography, 1946 -1995 , 2nd Edition, Mansell, London, 1998).

A list of the abbreviations used will be found at the end of the document

Date

Published Books

Published Poems, Broadsides(BS), Edited works(Ed).

Reviews, Essays, Current Interests, Events

1930

Born August 17th , Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, to William Henry and Edith (neé. Farrar) Hughes. Sister (Olwyn) two years older; brother (Gerald) ‘… was ten years older than me and made my early life a kind of paradise… which was ended abruptly by the war’ (Letter to AS Nov.1982 re. ‘Two’).
‘Memoir’ (DT , 21 Nov.1998) says that Hughes was ‘… brought up on his grandmother’s farm’. Olwyn Hughes writes that this is incorrect but that they often visited nearby farms. ‘My first six years shaped everything’ (Interview. DT , 2 Nov.1998)

1938-9

Mytholmroyd house sold Sept. 1938. Family move to Mexborough, Yorkshire. Own a newspaper and tobacco shop.

1943

Mexborough Grammar School

1945

First poems written. ‘Zulus and the Wild West… All in imitation of Kipling’.(UU 20)

1946

First poems published in School magazine - Don and Dearne

‘Harvesting’ (essay) (Don and Dearne) rewritten as ‘The Harvesting’ (story) (BBC - Dec 1960)

Name used: Eeple Jote Hyewze

Influences: Folktales, Yeats, Hopkins, Virgil, Eliot, the ‘very different rhythms of the King James Bible’ (WP 5-6)

1948

Wins open exhibition to Cambridge University.

1949

National Service: Basic training at RAF West Kirby, the Wirral. Fighter plotting at RAF Patrington, East Riding, Yorks. Spends much time reading and re-reading all of Shakespeare (‘… he literally knows Shakespeare by heart…’(SPLH Aug. 2 1956)

‘Song’, ‘came to me as such things should in your nineteenth year - literally a voice in the air at about 3.00 A.M… ’(PR 11).

1951

Enters Pembroke College, Cambridge to study English. ‘I spent most of my time reading folklore and Yeats’s poems’ (UU 56) ‘Beethoven’s music… was my therapy’ (PR 85)

1952

Family return to West Yorkshire to live at The Beacon, Heptonstall.

1953

Fox dream: drops English to study Archaeology and Anthropology (WP 8-9)

1954

‘The Little Boys and the Seasons’ (Granta)

‘Song of the Sorry Lovers’ (Chequer)

‘The Jaguar’ / ‘The Casualty’ (Chequer)

Pseudonym - Daniel Hearing

Pseudonym - Peter Crew

Graduates from Cambridge

1955

1956

‘The Woman with Such High Heels’ (Delta 5)

Read a Penguin of American Poets ‘… that started me writing… ’, ‘… infatuated with John Crowe Ransom’ (UU 210)

Comment on Chequer (review): Pseudonym - Jonathan Dyce

Living in London (Rugby St.) and Cambridge.

Rose gardener, night-watchman, zoo attendant, schoolteacher, reader for J. Arthur Rank. Planning to teach in Spain then emigrate to Australia (SPLH May 4).

1956

Writes ‘The Thought Fox’

‘Secretary’/ ‘Soliloquy of a Misanthrope’/ ‘Fallgrief’s Girlfriend’/ ‘Meeting’/ ‘Law in the Country of Cats’ (St. Botolph’s Review)

Many Hawk in the Rain poems published

Feb. 25 - Launch of St Botolph’s Review. Meets Sylvia Plath

March 23 - Second meeting with Sylvia.

June 16 - Married to Sylvia Plath at St. George the Martyr’s Church, Bloomsbury.

June/July/August in Paris and Spain. Writing animal fables (SPJ . ‘Benidorm’)

Aug - To Heptonstall

Sept - Audition for BBC - poetry readings (SPLH Sept. 28).

Oct 10 - To London for BBC reading of Yeats’s poems. Misses Sylvia at station (SPLH Oct. 16; Birthday Letters ‘Fate Playing’)

Nov - Living in Cambridge (55 Eltisley Ave.) Teaching English and Drama at the Coleridge Secondary Modern School, Cambridge.

Astrology, horoscopes, hypnotism, tarot and experimenting with Ouija board (SPLH Oct. 28)

1957

Sept - Hawk in the Rain

April - ‘O’Kelly’s Angel’ (story) (Granta)

May - ‘Bartholemew Pygge Esquire’ (story) (Granta)

Many Hawk in the Rain poems published

Aug - First Lupercal poem published: ‘Dream of Horses’ (Gracecourt review)

Dec - ‘Everyman’s Odyssey’ ( Landmarks and Voyages)

Feb - Hawk in the Rain wins Harper publication contest .

Feb - Pan and Ouija board (SPLH Feb 8). Snatchcraftington, alphabetical fables (SPLH Feb. 24)

April - BBC - reading (1 poem)

May - Hears Robert Frost reading at Cambridge (SPLH May 24)

June - To Yorkshire. Then to USA on RMS Queen Elizabeth (Southampton to New York). (Wellesley then Cape Cod)

Aug - To Northampton (337 Elm St.) Sylvia teaching at Smith College

Aug - Meet Bill and Dido Merwin.

1958

Many Lupercal poems published. ‘… invocations to writing… ’ (UU 209), ‘a deliberate effort to find a simple concrete language’ (UU 209)

Spring - Teaching at Amherst, University of Massachusetts.

April 11 - Poetry reading at Harvard (SPLH April 22)

May - Reading Creon in Paul Roche’s Oedipus trans. At Smith.(SPJ May 19)

May 4 - Meets Baskins (Leonard and Esther).

June - Six Lupercal poems recorded in USA.

July - Summons Pan with Ouija board (SPJ July 4; SPLH July 5))

Aug - BBC - (6 Lupercal poems)

August - Rents flat in Boston (9 Willow Street, Beacon Hill)

Dec - Making wolf mask (SPJ Dec. 28)

Guinness Poetry Award

1959

Pike (BS)(LE 50)

Many Lupercal poems published.

Doing "exercises in meditation and invocation… [from] magic literature" (UU 210)

Oct - Writes House of Taurus (scrapped) ‘ symbolic drama based on the Euripides play The Bacchae ‘ (SPLH Oct. 7). Precursor to Gaudete (ATH 186-7)

Nov - Revising Meet My Folks (SPJ Nov. 1)

April - Awarded Guggenheim fellowship (SPJ April 23).

Summer - touring N. America by car.

Exercises in meditation and invocation. Had been pursuing Cabalistic and Hermetic interests. for some time (UU 41)

Sept - Yaddo Artists’ Colony for 11 weeks. Meets Chou Wen-Chung, agrees to collaborate on Bardo Thodol .

Dec - Returns to England on SS United States (New York to Southampton). (Heptonstall, Yorkshire)

Reviews: Weekend in Dinlock, Segal.

1960

March - Lupercal

Writing Recklings and Wodwo poems and Radio plays

Wodwo ‘a descent into destruction of some sort’ ( UU 205)

‘The Caning’, ‘Very fine, very difficult’(SPJ N ov. 15), ‘The Rainhorse’, ‘Sunday’, ‘Snow’, ‘The Harvesting’ (stories)

Writing and rewriting Bardo Thodol libretto (unperformed). Setting: Chou Wen-Chung .

Dreams of The Wound action and text. (ABC interview 1976)

Feb - Move to London (3 Chalcot Sq. Primrose Hill)

Feb - Reading at Oxford Poetry Society (BF 184)

March - Using Merwins’ study

March - Hawk in the Rain wins Somerset Maughan award (SPLH March 24)

March - Lupercal wins Hawthornden Prize (SPLH March 27)

April 1 - Frieda Rebecca born

April - Dinner at T.S. Eliot’s (SPLH April 26) ‘… one of the very great poets. One of the few’ (PR 73)

May - Meets Alan Sillitoe and his wife, Ruth Fainlight (BF 213)

June - Cocktail party at Fabers, photograph with Faber Poets (SPLH June 24), ‘Duk-dam charm to call fools in a circle’ (ABC interview 1976)

July 9 - BBC accepts House of Aries (SPLH July 9)

BBC - (plays, stories and talks)

1961

April - Meet my Folks

Aug - pamphlets for BBC - broadcasts Listening and Writing

Aug - Dully Gumpton’s College Courses. ‘Theology’ "a more concentrated and natural kind of poetry… "(UU 211)

Aug - ‘The Wound’ written, ‘a Celtic-Gothic Bardo Thodol ‘ (ABC interview 1976)

‘Miss Mambrett and the Wet Cellar’ (story)

Jan - Thom Gunn to dinner (SPLH Jan 1)

Feb - Sylvia Plath miscarries

July - Reading (Poetry at the Mermaid, London)

Aug - Sells lease on London flat to Wevills. Move to Devon (Court Green)

Nov - BBC - The Odyssey ‘The Storm’ Book V (translation of Homer)

Nov BBC - The House of Aries (play produced)

(interview, talk, poems, school broadcasts)

Selector for Poetry Book Society Choice.

Reviews: Lochness Monster , Dinsdale; Living Free, Adamson; The Cat in the Hat Comes Back , Seuss; Barnaby and the Horses , Pender; Timba , Gringolo , Koenig.

1962

May - Selected Poems with Thom Gunn

April - Leonard Baskin (Introduction)

Gaudete - begun as a film script (UU 123)

The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, Andreas. ‘… for over a year [this] became my prime source of inspiration’ (BBC TP, 1963)

Jan 17 - Nicholas Farrar born

Feb - BBC - The Wound (play produced)

Feb - Interest in shamanic dismemberment, Bacchae and Orphic myths (BF 320). Reading Nietzsche.

May - David and Assia Wevill visit Court Green. Ted and Sylvia sell daffodils. (SPLH May 14)

June - Beekeeping (SPLH June 15)

June - ‘The Poetry of Keith Douglas’ (essay)

July - Reading for Critical Quarterly, Bangor, Wales (BF 251)

Sept - Ted and Sylvia agree to a separation. Ted moves to London.

BBC - (school broadcasts, talk, poems, stories)

Introductions: The Little Prince , St. Exupéry; Tarka the Otter , Williamson; The Worst Journey in the World , Cherry-Garrard.

Reviews: The Nerve of some Animals, Froman. Man and Dolphin , Lilly; Primitive Song, Bowra; One Fish Two Fish , Seuss; The Cat’s Opera , Dillon; The Otter’s Tale , Maxwell; Animals of the Forest , Vérité; Close-up of a Honeybee , Foster; Oddities of Animal Life , Roberts; Imitations, Lowell; Anthology of W. African Folk-lore , Jablow; Everyman’s Ark , Johnson; Here Come the Elephants , Goudey;

1963

Nov - How the Whale Became (fables)

Nov - The Earth-Owl and other Moon People

Jan - Here Today , (Introduction)

May - Five American Poets (Ed)

Sept - ‘The Rock’, (The Listener )

Jan - Difficulties of a Bridegroom (play produced) Based on The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, ‘words, music and pictures… the interest is in imagery and mood’ (BBC TP, 17 October 1965); ‘a tribal dream’ (UU 212)

Feb - Sylvia Plath dies

Sept - BBC - The Rock (talk)

Sept - ‘The Poetry of Keith Douglas’ (essay)

Oct - ‘Ten Poems by Sylvia Plath’ (introduction)

Nov - ‘The Rat Under the Bowler" (essay)

BBC - (interviews, poems, talks)

Reviews: I Said the Sparrow , West; The World of Men , Baldwin; Rule and Energy , Press; Vagrancy , O’Connor; Emily Dickinson’s Poetry , Anderson; Folktales of Japan , Seki; Folktales of Israel , Noy.

1964

April - Nessie the Mannerless Monster

Jan - ‘The Howling of Wolves’

Feb - Selected Poems, Keith Douglas (Ed): (Introduction)

March - ‘The Suitor’ (story)

Writing Eat Crow (UU 212)

‘Dice’ (poem in 8 parts)

14 August - Postcard to Leonard Baskin: ‘The Book of Crow is in the egg’. (discovered 2013 by Peter Fydler in the British Library Hughes–Baskin Papers. Vol. I. 1958-1972 Add.Ms.83684)

Gaudete finished

Awarded lecturer’s salary at University of Vienna for 5 years, by Abraham Woursell Foundation (PR 62)

Feb - BBC - Dogs: A Scherzo (play produced)

Nov/Dec - BBC - The Coming of the Kings ( play produced)

Reviews: Voss , White; Myth and Religion of the North , Turvielle-Petre; The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen , Day Lewis; Selections of African Prose , Whiteley; The Heroic Recitations of the Bahima of Ankole , Morris; Somali Poetry , Andrzejewski and Lewis; The Three Christs of Ypsilanti , Rokeach; Letters of Alexander Pushkin , Shaw; Astrology , MacNeice; Ghost and Divining-rod , Lethbridge / Shamanism , Eliade; The Sufis , Shah (probably written in 1962, see Bitter Fame p. 320); Mysterious Senses , Dröscher; Heimskringla , The Prose Edda , Sturlson; Gods, Demons and Others , Narayan.

1965

March - Ariel , Sylvia Plath, (Ed)

June - Eat Crow (play) (parts of Difficulties of a Bridegroom)

Autumn - Modern Poetry in Translation (Editorial)

Autumn - ‘The Tiger’s Bones’ (play); ‘Beauty and the Beast’(play)

October - Letter to Leonard Baskin: ‘Book of Crow has developed… Are you still interested in a brief series of Crow adventures?’ (discovered 2013 by Peter Fydler in the British Library Hughes–Baskin Papers. Vol. I. 1958-1972 Add.Ms.83684)

The Crow poems were begun at request of Baskin to accompany drawings. (Scigaj, L. Form and Imagination (1986) p.144).(UU 97).
‘… mostly they wrote themselves quite rapidly, the story was a sort of machine that assembed them’. (UU 207)

Jan - ‘Sylvia Plath’ (note on Ariel)

March 3 - Alexandra Tatiana Eloise Wevill (Shura) born

April - The Genius of Isaac Belshevis Singer’ (essay)

June/July - Attends the Festival dei Due Mondi. Spoleto.

Helped to organise the first big Arts Council International Poetry Festival. Reading with Auden and Neruda. (PR 73)

Sept - BBC - ‘The House of Donkeys’ (re-telling of Japanese folk-tale)

Sept - Reading 3 poems at Edinburgh Festival

Oct - BBC - Reading ‘Ghost Crabs’, ‘Waking’, ‘Gog III’ from play - Difficulties of a Bridegroom - ‘ my Alchemical Marriage ’ (Letter to Ben Sonnenberg, Summer. 1965)

Nov/Dec - BBC - The Tiger’s Bones ; Beauty and the Beast (plays produced)

Reviews: Faber Book of Ballads , Hodgart; Men who Marched Away , Parsons; Literature Among the Primitives , T he Primitive Reader , Greenaway.

BBC - (poetry readings, talks)

1966

Oct - The Burning of the Brothel (LE 300)

Summer - ‘Vasco Poppa’ (essay)

Sept - BBC - The Price of a Bride (play produced)

Fall - On The Chronological Order of Plath’s Poems (notes)

Reviews: Dylan Thomas Letters, Fitzgibbon

BBC - (poetry reading, talks)

1967

Jan - Recklings (LE 150)

April - Scapegoats and Rabies (LE 400)

May - Wodwo ‘a descent into destruction of some sort’ (UU 205)

Aug - Animal Poems (LE 100)

Dec - Poetry in the Making (broadcasts)

‘Gravestones’ (BS) (LE 40)

First Crow poems published: ‘Three Legends’, ‘A Battle’, ‘Lovesong’

July - BBC - Poetry International ‘67 (speaking and reading; broadsheet and programme notes)

Sept/Oct - BBC - The Head of Gold (play produced)

1968

Feb - The Iron Man (story) ‘I just wrote it out as I told it over two or three nights’ (IOS 5.9.93)

Dec - Five Autumn Songs (LE 500)

March - A Choice of Emily Dickinson’s Verse (Introduction)

July - Yehuda Amichai: Selected Poems (collaborated on trans.)

Aug - The Oedipus of Seneca (TH’s adaptation of Seneca for Peter Brook) ‘… concentrated my writing… useful in Crow’ (UU 212)

Beauty and the Beast (play)

Many Crow poems published.

March 19 - Seneca’s Oedipus (TH adaptation) performed (Old Vic)

March - The Demon of Adachigahara (libretto) Setting by Crosse, performed at Shrewsbury.

May - BBC - Sean, the Fool, the Devil and the Cats (play produced)

Five Autumn Songs written for and read at Harvest Festival, Little Missenden.

Autumn - Reading poetry at Peacock Theatre, Dublin.

The Arvon Foundation Established by John Fairfax and John Moat. ‘… I thought the scheme was unworkable’. Involved with first course in Devon and was converted. ‘I spent no small volume of time and cash on it’ (Letter to AS , Aug. 1993).

BBC - (poetry and play readings)

Reviews: Folk tales of Chile , Dawson; Hindoo Fairy Tales , Frere; The Glass man and the Golden Bird , Manning-Sanders; The Black Monkey , Hampden.

1969

Dec - Seneca’s Oedipus (adaptation)

Feb - Vasco Popa: Selected Poems (Introduction)

‘I Said Goodbye to Earth’ (BS) (LE 75) (first published Gaudete poem)

Many Crow poems published.

Feb - The New World songs commissioned (performed in 1972)

March 23 - Deaths of Assia and Shura

May 4 - BBC TV - Poetry reading

Co-director of Poetry International

May 13 - Death of Hughes’ mother

Death of Sue Alliston

Awarded City of Florence International Poetry Prize

Winter - Co-Editor, with Daniel Weissbort and David Ross, of Your Environment . First issue published (see ‘Environment and Society’ on the Notes and Queries pages)

1970

March - The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar (LE 100)

March - A Crow Hymn (LE 100)

Sept - The Coming of the Kings (4 plays)

Oct - Crow: from the Life and Songs of the Crow

Oct - A Few Crows (LE 75)

Oct - Amulet (LE 1)

Aug - ‘Four Crow Poems’(BS) (LE 20)

Oct - ‘Fighting for Jerusalem’ (BS) (LE 1)

The Tiger’s Bones (play)

The House of Donkeys (part of the play)

Jan - ‘The Chronological Order of Sylvia Plath’s Poems ‘(Note in The Art of Sylvia Plath)

March - ‘Myth and Education’ I (NY publication) (essay)

May - Poetry D-Day (Reading at the Roundhouse)

19 August - Marriage to Carol Orchard

Interview with Ekbert Faas (UU 197-208)

Settings of two poems performed at the Edinburgh festival. ‘King of Carrion’, ‘Eros’.

BBC - (poetry readings, talks)

Reviews: Children’s games in Street and Playground , Opie; The Environmental Revolution , Nicholson, The God Beneath the Sea , Garfield/Blishen; The Book of Imaginary Beings , Borges.

1971

March - Shakespeare’s Poem (LE 150)

April - Crow Wakes (LE 200)

April - Poems with Ruth Fainlight and Alan Sillitoe.

Nov - Eat Crow (LE 150)

Autumn Song (poster) ‘Who killed the Leaves?’

‘The Poetry of Ted Hughes’ (Sheets) (LE)

May - Fiesta Melons , Plath (Introduction) (LE 150)

Orpheus (verse play)

May - Crossing the Water , Plath (Ed)

Sept - Winter Trees, Plath (Ed. and Note)

Nov - With Fairest Flowers While Summer Lasts: Poems From Shakespeare (Ed. and Introduction) (LE 140)

Nov - A Choice of Shakespeare’s Verse (Introduction) First formulation of the ‘Tragic Equation’.

Dec - ‘The Birth of Socas’ (extract from Orghast).

Jan - BBC - Orpheus (play performed).

The Conference of the Birds ‘I wrote about 100 poems and scenarios for Peter Brook’s company to improvise with’. (Conversation with AS , 1995)

Began to look again at the Gaudete material. The underworld the ‘most interesting part’ of story narrative ‘trimmed itself down’. ( UU 214)

July-Sept. - Accompanies Peter Brook to Shiraz Festival, Persia. Orghast performed. ‘… we orchestrated the sounds… ’ (ABC interview, 1976)

Gaudete rewritten and many more poems added(UU 123)

Rainbow Press founded by Ted and Olwyn Hughes.

1972

Feb - Sunday ( Story from Wodwo, separate publication by CUP)

Sept - The Coming of the Kings (script)

Oct - Selected Poems 1957 - 67

‘A Little Girl’s Angel Gaze’ (BS) (LE 50)

Nov - Orghast at Persepolis , Smith (excerpts from play; ideas, language and myth)

Works in Progress 5 (Faas Interview)

Aug/Sept - ‘The New World’ (libretto) Setting by Crosse, performed at The Three Choirs Festival (Worcester.)

Buys Moortown Farm (95 acres) and runs it with Carol and her father, Jack Orchard, who had managed a farm near Crediton. (Conversation with AS , 1995)

Dec - BBC - TV The Iron Man read

Reviews: A Separate Reality , Castaneda.

1973

Nov - Prometheus on his Crag (LE 160)

July - Orpheus (play - director’s notes)

Stones: Poems by Paul Merchant (Introduction) (LE 150)

March - The Story of Vasco performed (Sadlers Wells)

Awarded Premio Internazionale Taormina Prize

1974

Feb - The Story of Vasco (libretto)

July - Sean, the Fool, the Devil and the Cats (script)

July - Beauty and the Beast (script)

Sept - Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter (LE 140)

The House of Donkeys (complete play)

First Cave Birds poems published: ‘The Summoner’, ‘The Executioner’, ‘The Risen’. ‘… my starting point was the death of Socrates [and his] murder of the Mediterranean Goddess’ (Letter to AS , Nov. 1984).

Sees Baskin bird-drawings. Begins bird drama - Cave Birds

Reads A.K.Ramanujan’s Speaking of Siva and begins to write his own vacanas, some of which will be published in the Gaudete Epilogue (1977) and in Orts (1978).

Awarded Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

1975

March - The Interrogator (LE 250) (‘A Titled Vulturess’)

Oct - Seasons Songs

May - ‘Cave Birds’ (10 poems) (Scolar Press LE 125) (written 1974 -5)

A few Gaudete poems published.

Dec - Children as Writers 2 (Foreword)

April - Reading Crow poems at Cambridge Poetry Festival ‘[Crow] an expanded story for children’ (CU recording)

May 30 - Cave Birds and Lumb’s Remains performed (Ilkley Literature Festival). [ Cave Birds ]’… a mystery play of sorts’, [ Lumb’s Remains ] ‘… constitutes the Epilogue of a longish poem called Gaudete ‘ (Programme Notes)

June - BBC - Cave Birds read.

1976

May - Earth Moon (LE 226)

July - Eclipse (LE 250)

Nov - Moon Whales

‘Moon Hops’ (LE 1)

Sept - Janos Pilinsky: Selected Poems (Co-Ed., Introduction)

Words Broadsheet Twenty-Five : Four Poets (‘The Virgin Knight’) (LE 200)

Feb - Death of Jack Orchard.

March - Attends Adelaide Festival (readings and interviews)

Becomes founding President of Farms for City Children charity.

Cambridge Book of English Verse 1939-75 , Bold (parts of an unpublished letter)

‘Myth and Education’ II (London publication) (Essay)

Arvon Foundation Conversation

1977

May - Gaudete

June - Chiasmadon (LE 185)

Aug - Sunstruck (LE 300)

June - Amen , Yehuda Amichai (Co-Translator, Introduction)

Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams , Plath (Introduction, Postscript)

Aug - Platform Performance of Gaudete (National Theatre)

Sept - BBC - TH introduces and reads Season Songs.

Second interview with Ekbert Faas (UU 208-215)

Awarded OBE

1978

Feb - Moon Bells

July - A Solstice (LE 100)

Aug - Orts (LE 200)

Oct - Cave Birds

Oct - Moortown Elegies (LE 150)

‘Moortown Elegies’ (BS) (LE 100)

‘The Head’, (story)

June - Vasco Popa: Collected Poems (Introduction)

Recording for Norwich Tapes, Critical Forum Series: … [poetry/magic] ‘is one way of making things happen the way you want them to happen’.

1979

Jan - The Threshold (LE 100)

April - Remains of Elmet (LE 180) ‘written in response to Fay Godwin’s photographs… first poems reflected my mother’s love of this area’ . The 1994 reprinting had a different aim: ‘I deliberately made this version a collection about my family’. (Conversation with AS, 1994)

April - Remains of Elmet (LE 180)

Aug - Four Tales Told by an Idiot (LE 450)

Nov - Adam and the Sacred Nine (LE 200) ‘… to conjure myself to be a bit more birdlike’ (PR 72)

Oct - Moortown

Dec - Henry Williamson (tribute) (LE 200)

Morrigu Press (BS, 3 poems) (LE 30)

‘Brooktrout’ (BS) (LE 60)

‘Pan’ (BS) (LE 60)

‘Woodpecker’ (BS) (LE 60)

‘In the Black Chapel’ (BS) (LE 1500) for V & A exhibition.

‘Wolverine’ (BS) (LE 75)

‘You hated Spain’ , ‘Salmon Taking Times’, The Earthenware Head’.

May - ITV TH reads poems from Remains of Elmet .

Poems in All Round the Year, Morpurgo.

Dec - Tribute to Henry Williamson read at St Martin’s in the Fields

Voted best poet writing in English in small New Poetry poll ( BBC - Internet News , 1 Jan. 1999)

August - Fishing in Iceland with Nicholas

12 Sept/28 Oct - Exhibition of ‘Illustrations to Ted Hughes Poems’ at Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1980

‘Eagle’ (BS) (LE 75)

‘Mosquito’ (BS) (LE 60)

‘Tapir’s Song’ (BS) (LE 15)

‘Sky Furnace’ (BS) (LE 150)

‘The Tigerboy’ (story)

Oct - The Reef and Other Poems , Sagar (Introduction)

New Poetry 6 (Ed.)

July - Fishing in Alaska with Nicholas

Ted Hughes: The Unaccommodated Universe , Faas (interviews, essays, reviews collected)

The Pig Organ (libretto) . Setting, Blackford, performed (Roundhouse, London)

Nov. - Sets up and judges (with Heaney, Larkin, and Causley)The Observer/Arvon Foundation Poetry Competition.

BBC - (poetry readings)

1981

March - Under the North Star

July - A Primer of Birds (LE 250)

‘Three River Poems’ (BS) (LE 75)

‘Cows’ (BS) (LE 76)

The Way To Write , Fairfax and Moat (Introduction)

Ted Hughes: A Critical Study , Gifford / Roberts (poem and extracts from letters)

Collected Poems , Plath (Ed., Introduction)

‘In Defence of Crow’ (essay)

Death of Hughes’ father

1982

Feb - New Selected Poems 1957 - 81

July - Wolf-watching (LE 75)

‘The Great Irish Pike’ (Sheets) (LE 26)

The Rattle Bag ( Ed. with Seamus Heaney)

The Journals of Sylvia Plath (Co-Ed., Foreword)

Arvon Foundation Poetry Comp. 1980 Anthology (Co-judge, part of Intro.)

What Rhymes with Secret , Brownjohn (Foreword)

July - Awarded honorary degree from Exeter University.

Oct - Reading at the Cheltenham, Literature Festival

Reviews: Where I Used to Play on the Green , Glyn Hughes

1983

Sept - River

‘Mice are Funny Little Creatures’ (BS) (LE 75)

‘Weasels at Work’ (BS) (LE 75)

‘Flying Insects’ (BS) (LE 75)

Modern Poetry in Translation , Weissbort (Introduction)

Fishing in Alaska with Nicholas

Attends International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Canada

1984

June - What is the Truth (’… written at the suggestion of C and M Morpurgo who run Farms for City Children’ (PBS Notes, Autumn, 1995)

The Complete Prints of Leonard Baskin (‘The Hanged Man and the Dragonfly’ - Introduction).

Where I Used to Play on the Green , G. Hughes (Introduction)

Britain: The World by Itself , Perring and Press (poem and prose passage)

‘Subsidy for Poetry’ (essay)

Dec - Appointed Poet Laureate.

1985

Mokomaki (LE 50)

The Best Worker in Europe (LE 150)

Sylvia Plath’s Selected Poems (Ed.)

45 Contemporary Poems , Turner (poem and essay)

‘Putting a value on UK’s salmon riches’ (letter)

1986

Aug - Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth

Oct - Flowers and Insects

‘The Whistle’; ‘Group’; ‘Circuit’, poems by Sorescu (TH Trans.)

Jan - ITV The Iron Man, readings by Tom Baker begin

Sept 21 - Reading at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA

Sept 22 - Reading at the Poetry Centre at the 92nd Street Y, New York, USA.

Oct. - Platform performance of Gaudete at The Almeida Theatre, London.

William Golding , Carey (‘Baboons and Neanderthals’ - Essay)

‘Children and secretly listening adults’ (letter)

‘About the Arvon Foundation’ (notes)

Award of honorary degree from Cambridge University

1987

Aug - T.S. Eliot: A Tribute (LE 150)

Sept - The Cat and the Cuckoo (LE 2000, 250 signed)

The Cat and the Cuckoo poems and prints (LE 200 ea.) ‘… my wish was to capitalise on a character study of the creature&hellip… My model was runic knots… mnemonic quipus ‘ (PBS Notes, Autumn 1995)

The Complete Poems of Keith Douglas , Graham (Introduction)

The Singing Brink , Dooley and Hunter, (Introduction)

‘An Introduction to ‘The Thought Fox’’ (Essay)

‘To parse or not to parse’ (letter)

‘On Sylvia Plath’s biographers’ (letter)

‘No chance for fishery interests’ (letter)

‘The place where Sylvia Plath should rest in peace’ (letter)

‘Sylvia Plath: the facts about her life and the desecration of her grave’ (letter)

‘Where research becomes intrusion’ (letter)

Summer - Fishing in British Columbia, where he has an emergency appendix operation

Sept 26 - Reads ‘The Truly Great’ (published in A Dancer to God , 1992) at the unveiling of a blue plaque on the London house occupied by T.S.Eliot 1957-1965

1988

June - Tales of the Early World (fables)

Began writing The Iron Woman ‘… at one point I was scared by it and had to back off’ (IOS)

An Anthology of Poetry for Shakespeare , Osborne (Foreword)

First and Always , Sail (Introduction)

Letters to an Editor , Fisher (includes letters from TH)

Sept 25 - Reads ‘The Song of Songs in the Valley of Bones’ (published as ‘A Dancer to God’, 1992) as an introduction to a reading of T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Palace Theatre, London

Sept 26 - Reads ‘A Dancer to God’ at the T.S.Eliot Centenary Dinner

1989

Sept - Moortown Diary

Sept - Wolfwatching ‘doubting my powers and getting older. Of course both wolves are caged and confined’. (Conversation with AS Dec. 1994)

Writing The Goddess of Complete Being, ‘The Silence of Cordelia’

In Praise of Trout , Profumo (Foreword)

Notes on Wolfwatching (PBS Bulletin)

Nov - Visits Bangladesh for the Asia Poetry Festival

1990

Capriccio (LE 50)

Sean Hill’s Gidleigh Park Cookbook , (Foreword)

Gabbioano , Pennati (Facsimile of letter from TH)

Dear (Next) Prime Minister , Astley (includes letter from TH)

Three Contemporary Poets , Dyson (includes ‘A Reply to Critics’ and excerpts form letter)

Suffers from shingles until March 1991

Is instrumental in the inauguration of the Sacred Earth Drama Trust and its drama competition (see ‘Environment and Society’ on the Notes and Queries pages)

1991

Winning Words (Judge, and Foreword)

1992

April - Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being (prose)

June - Rain Charm for the Duchy (LE 280) and trade edition.

Sept - A Dancer to God (tribute to Eliot)

Nov - Your World (Essay) (The Observer Magazine)

March - ‘The Interpretation of Parables’ (article)

April - ‘Shakespeare and the Goddess’ , ‘Battling Over the Bard’(reply to review)

‘Ted Hughes and the Plath estate’ (letter)

Oct - Cheltenham Literary Festival reading - ‘The Bear’

Reviews: Your World, (winning photographs UN competition.)

BBC - (poetry readings)

1993

May - The Mermaid’s Purse (LE 100) - ‘not as warm as The Cat and The Cuckoo ‘ (Conversation with AS , Oct. 93)

June - Three Books - ‘Reading your book [ Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest ] galvanised [Fabers] into publishing Elmet , Cave Birds and River as a single volume’ (Letter to AS , Aug. 1995)

Sept - The Iron Woman (story) ‘… a myth about writing a poem’ (IOS)

‘The Reckless Head’ (BS) (LE)

Sept - Sacred Earth Dramas (Foreword)

‘The Bear’

‘The Deadfall’(story)

Working on Coleridge essay - ‘like an afterbirth of the Shakespeare work’ (Conversation with AS , Oct . 1993)

Suffers from shingles

Talks about ‘the catharsis of memorialising the dead in books’ ( IOS)

Enthusiasm for Tony Buzan’s experiments for developing brain and memory (IOS)

Oct - ‘I realise after all these years, that people don’t understand my poetry’ (Conversation with AS )

Nov 15 - Rock version of The Iron Man Directed by David Thacker, and produced by rock-guitarist Pete Townshend opens at The Young Vic, London

1994

March - Winter Pollen

July - Poetry (in Macedonian) (LE 500)

Oct - Elmet ‘I deliberately made this version a collection about my family’. (Conversation with AS, 1994)

Dec - Earth Dances (LE 250)

Nov - After Ovid , Hoffman and Lasdun (includes four versions of Metamorphoses poems)

Invested as Golden Wreath Laureate of the year at the Macedonia Poetry Festival in Striga

Sets aside work on Alcestis to start work on a version of the Oresteia by Aeschylus,(commissioned by the Northcott Theatre, Exeter): ‘..the best thing I have ever done. I read it and wonder how I ever did it’ (Conversation with AS Sept, 1998)

Oct 6 - Reading for Poetry Day (National Theatre) with Simon Armitage (‘The Earthenware Head’, Anniversary’, ‘The Last of the 1st/5th Lancashire Fusiliers’)

‘T.S.Eliot the Death of St. Narcissus’ (introductory note)

Dec - In London for Sacred Earth Drama Group meeting. ‘Valerie Eliot donated £10.000 to group’ (Conversation with AS)

Re. The Mermaid’s Purse - Reg Lloyd ‘disengaged from it and another illustrator found by Fabers’ (Conversation with AS )

1995

March - New Selected Poems

March - The Dream Fighter (stories)

Aug - Spring Awakening (TH’s version of Wedekind’s play)

Sept - Shakespeare’s Ovid (LE 200)

Oct - Difficulties of a Bridegroom (stories)

Oct - Collected Animal Poems (4 Books)

‘Football’ (poem strip) (LE 499)

‘Goku’ (Creation story)

Writing more Ovid and writing ‘about 100 poems about things I should have resolved thirty years ago. Should have written then, but couldn’t.’ (Conversation with AS , 1995)

BBC - TV The Dreamfighter reading by Bill Paterson

Spring Awakening performed (Barbican) ‘… powerful and relevant to modern youth’ (Conversation with AS , Oct. 1995)

Paris Review (Spring) interview with Drew Heinz

‘Sylvia Plath: the Bell Jar and Ariel ‘ (essay)

BBC - (poetry readings)

Considering collating archive mss. Asks Keith Sagar and AS to help, but eventually decides he needs to do it himself . ‘I found something I thought I had lost’ (Conversation with AS , Aug. 1995) ‘Something which was lost, which is very interesting’ (Conversation with AS , Sept. 1997)

1996

Blood Wedding (TH ‘s version of Lorca’s play)

A Choice of Coleridge’s Verse (Ed.)

‘I also did 25 tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses - enjoyed that. A holiday in a rest home!!’ (Letter to AS Sept. 1996)

Oct - Blood Wedding performed (Young Vic), director Tim Supple. ‘a difficult play to stage’ (Letter to AS , Sept. 1996)

1997

Tales From Ovid (TH’s versions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses). It won the Whitbread Poetry Prize of the Year)

Shaggy and Spotty (story) ‘… found in my archive… a story I told the children when they were about two and just jotted notes’ (Conversation with AS Sept ‘97)

By Heart (Ed. and Introduction). ‘… it worked for Nicholas when he was at school’ (Conversation with AS , Sept.1997)

The School Bag , (Ed. with Seamus Heaney)

Late Spring - Begins treatment for cancer

Sept - Talked about Birthday Letters : ‘… autobiographical… I chose two [publication] dates using horoscopes, April 23 or an earlier one’. Discussion of the South Bank Mind Olympics and Ted’s teaching in a similar course run in Liechtenstein. Peter Townshend’s musical version of The Iron Man being filmed in America. ‘Peter says the script is nothing like my own writing’ (Conversation with AS , Sept. 1997)

1998

Jan - Birthday Letters

Phèdra (TH’s version of Racine’s play)

Howls, Cries & Whispers (LE)

‘Did I tell you I translated the Oresteia ?’ (Letter to AS , Jan. 1998)

Version of Euripides’ Alcestis sent to Barry Rutter of Northern Broadsides (Conversation with AS , Sept. 1998)

Jan - Birthday Letters tops best seller list

Jan - Tales from Ovid wins the Whitbread Book of the Year prize

March - Tales from Ovid wins the W.H. Smith Literature Award

June - Adds Heracles interlude to Alcestis before sending it to Barry Rutter of Northern Broadsides

Animated version of The Iron Giant being made by Warner Bros.

Phèdra produced (Malvern Literary Festival and Almeida) director Jonathan Kent. ‘I heard one woman say ‘I wouldn’t like to be Diana Rigg and have to go through all that again tonight’. (Conversation with AS , Sept. 1998)

’Sold the farm [Moortown]’ (Letter to AS, Aug. 1998)

Oct - Birthday Letters wins Forward Prize for Poetry

Oct - Appointed member of the Queen’s Order of Merit

Award of D. Litt. from Cambridge University

Winter - Interview published in Wild Steelhead and Salmon

Ted Hughes died on Wednesday, October 28th

1999

Tales from Ovid (acting version).

The Mermaid’s Purse (trade edition)

The Oresteia (TH’s version of Aeschylus’s play)

Alcestis (TH’s version of Euripides’s play)

‘The Prophet’ (Version of Pushkin’s poem from Weissbort’s trans.)

Jan - Birthday Letters wins T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

Birthday Letters wins the South Bank Award for Literature.

Birthday Letters wins the Whitbread Prize for Poetry and the Book of the Year prize.

April - Tales from Ovid performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan, Stratford.

The post of Children’s Laureate, founded at the instigation of Ted Hughes and Michael Morpurgo, is filled, for the first time, by Quentin Blake.

May 13 - Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey

August - The Iron Giant Brad Bird’s animated version of The Iron Man is distributed by Warner Bros.

Dec - The Oresteia performed at the National Theatre

2000

Opening of the archive of Ted Hughes manuscripts at Emory University, Altanta, USA.

September - Alcestis produced by Barry Rutter of the Northern Broadsides Theatre Company at Dean Clough, Halifax, Yorkshire.

2003

Ted Hughes: Collected Poems , edited by Paul Keegan.

2005

Ted Hughes: Collected Poems for Children , Illustrated by Raymond Briggs.

2007

Letters of Ted Hughes : selected and edited by Christopher Reid

2009

September - Timmy the Tug : a children’s book created by Ted Hughes and the artist, Jim Downer, in 1952

2010

March - The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, announces that Ted Hughes is to be honoured by a memorial in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

June - The British Library announces the opening of a large addition to their Ted Hughes archive.

2011

December 6 - Dedication of the Memorial to Ted Hughes in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, unveiled the memorial stone of Kirkstone green slate, carved by Ronald Parsons with these lines from ‘That Morning’: ‘ So we found the end of our journey. So we stood, alive in the river of light Among the creatures of light creatures of light ‘.


ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation

AS Ann Skea

BBC TP British Broadcasting Corporation Tape

BF Stevenson, A. Bitter Fame , Viking, London, 1989

CU Cambridge University

DT The Daily Telegraph

IOS Independent on Sunday, Interview: 5 September 1993 pp.32-4

PBS Poetry Book Society, London

PR Paris Review , Interview, Spring 1995

SPJ Hughes and McCullough (Eds.), The Journals of Sylvia Plath , Ballantine, NY, 1991

SPLH Plath, A.(Ed.), Sylvia Plath: Letters Home , Harper and Row, NY, 1975

SW Malcolm, J. The Silent Woman , Picador, London, 1994

THL Reid, C.(Ed.)Letters of Ted Hughes, Faber, London, 2007

UU Faas, E. The Unaccommodated Universe , Black Sparrow, Santa Barbara, 1980

WP Hughes, T. Winter Pollen , Faber, London, 1994.

Sagar, K and Tabor, S. Ted Hughes : A Bibliography, 1946-1995 , 2nd Edition, Mansell, London, 1998

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Ted Hughes: Timeline © Ann Skea. Updated April 2013


For permission to quote any part of this document contact Dr Ann Skea at ann@skea.com

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