University Acquires Hughes Collection/Punk Poet Honoured – Poetry News Roundup May 25th

Today’s poetry news roundup looks at the Ted Hughes collection acquired by the University of Huddersfield and the Legion D’Honneur awarded to Patti Smith.

Major Ted Hughes Collection Acquired by University

A rather unique collection of valuable and rare items linked to Ted Hughes, the former poet laureate, has been acquired for the University of Huddersfield.

Described by “The Private Library” a collectors’ journal as


the Mark Hinchcliffe Ted Hughes Collection took a lifetime to put together. It was collected by Mark Hinchcliffe a Hughes expert, and it is through his widow that the collection has come to the University.

Funding for the acquisition came from a number of sources including the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the University itself and The Victoria and Albert/Arts Council England Acquisition Fund.

The University is delighted at the acquisition which consists of over 170 different items, including originals of letters written by Hughes to Sylvia Plath, his first wife, signed first editions of fine-press publications, and even some annotated books from the poet’s own collection. There is also a ceramic Jaguar that was sculpted by Hughes in 1967 and is the only example still intact anywhere in the world of the poet’s work with plastic arts. A photo album containing many previously unseen photographs is in the collection as well.

Mark Hinchcliffe, who was a poet in his own right, was on friendly terms with Hughes and other members of his family and regularly corresponded with them. He was also an important figure involved in the setting up of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival which takes place in Upper Calder Valley. He was a staunch supporter of the University’s Ted Hughes Network, and his widow is delighted that the collection will now be housed there – her late husband’s wish was for it to remain intact and be made available for research purposes amongst students and academics.

The collection will now join the three other important Ted Hughes collections at Heritage Quay making the entire collection the must-see archive for scholars of the poet all over the world.

Punk-Poet Granted Highest Honour in France

Patti Smith, the Punk-poet has been awarded a Legion d’Honneur in a ceremony that took place in Brooklyn.

This is the highest order of merit that is given by France and the 75-year-old poet said that receiving it was an “indescribable honour”. She credits the French culture, its literature, films and art as having helped to shape her entire life which makes the award a particularly meaningful one.

Smith has been a celebrated artist, performer and poet for over 50 years and in 2010 was named the winner of the US National Book Award for “Just Kids”, her stirring memoir.

As part of her acceptance speech for the award, she read from the final letter of Rene Daumal, a spiritualist-surrealist poet.

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