Monday, 9 January 2017

The Delight of The Mundane

I recently read a biography of Ted Hughes by the magisterial Professor Sir Jonathan Bate (OBE), previously more famous for his work on William Shakespeare. 

The New Statesman review is an excellent and thoughtful one. 

My purpose is not to review the biography, or to talk of my views on the behaviour of Ted towards Sylvia.  Suffice it to say that she HAUNTS this biography, and comes out of the story in a much better light than she does in an older biography devoted to her alone, published in Ted's lifetime, called  "Bitter Fame" 

Aside ---  On this point, a good link is  The first reviewer here comments on the relentless criticism of Sylvia that permeates that book.

Another Aside ---  And a historic link  A unique exchange of letters between the author of "Bitter Fame" (Anne Stevenson), Ted's sister Olwyn, and the poet and erstwhile "friend" of Sylvia, Al Alvarez, who appears in both biographies.

No, I'm actually commenting on how good it probably is NOT to be a poet, or anyone else tortured by artistic struggle (think Van Gogh, for example).

It's the everyday that keeps you grounded.  Good to bear that in mind, in the dark, dismal days of January.


  1. Yes I agree, the tortured artist way of living could get you down a little!

  2. Hee Hee! It's like, "I'll just fold these pyjamas" rather than "I'll just look into my deepest anxieties!"

  3. I totally agree, and living with someone like that must be a nightmare too!