Ted Hughes Donation/ Poet Dispute Tragedy Letters For Sale – Poetry News Roundup November 1st

Today on My Poetic Side, we take a look at a donation of Ted Hughes memorabilia and some incredibly rare letters that will be going up for auction.

Widow of Ted Hughes Donates Rare Work to Huddersfield University

Carol Hughes, the widow of the former poet laureate Ted Hughes has donated a collection of the poet’s work, together with photographs, letters and artwork to the Heritage Quay archive at University of Huddersfield. The poet died 25 years ago, on 28th October 1998.

Amongst the items in the collection are limited edition and small press works that were dated and signed by both Hughes and some of his collaborators. There are also some unpublished sketches by Elizabeth Cook and RJ Lloyd of the late poet.

Mrs Hughes supports the university’s Ted Hughes Research Network and has also donated drafts Cormorants, Pheasants and Weasels at Work, a Morrigu Press work-in-progress.

In the collection of items which have been donated is a folder of letters sent between Mrs Hughes and the late Donald Crossley, who was a childhood friend of the poet. The pair produced a collection of research which looked at the poetry collection titled “Remains of Elmet” and a range of other works that considered the upper Calder Valley.

The additions to the Ted Hughes Network collection were greatly received, with the director of the network stating that the items “significantly enhance and complement our existing collections”. All of these donations will go on public display next year and there will be readings and talks by students, poets and scholars.

Mrs Hughes was the poet’s second wife. His first marriage to the poet Sylvia Plath was a tumultuous relationship that ended with the pair separating. Plath took her own life before the pair were divorced.

The Dispute that Pushed a Young Poet to the Brink

The writer and poet Thomas Chatterton was just 17 years old when he took his own life. A row with Horace Walpole led up to the event that later saw the likes of William Wordsworth referring to Chatterton as “the marvellous boy” , with his work lighting a path for the Romantic era poets who would follow.

Now a collection of incredibly rare letters, written in the poet’s own hand, that detail the sad story that led to his death are to be put up for auction for the first time ever. The letters will be going under the hammer at Bonhams and are being described as the “missing piece of the jigsaw”. Whilst the existence of the letters has been known, their exact location has never been determined. It is likely that their appearance at auction now may well raise some significant interest in literary circles.

Born in 1752, Chatterton moved at the age of 16 to London where he quickly became a success. The blame for his inability to turn his success into money and his eventual suicide have always been linked to Horace Walpole.

The letters have been owned by the same family for the last two centuries. As yet, Bonhams have not made any indication of how much the letters might be expected to fetch. The poet’s young age at death means there are relatively few memorabilia items in existence, and they rarely come up for auction.

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