Hughes Sculpture Planned/ Wong Phi Nam Dies – Poetry News Roundup September 28th

Today in our poetry news round-up, we look at the planned sculpture in memory of the poet Ted Hughes and the death of the Malaysian poet Wong Phui Nam.

Sculpture in Memory of Ted Hughes Planned for Mytholmroyd

Plans are afoot for a two-metre high sculpture in memory of the late poet laureate Ted Hughes to be created in his home village of Mytholmroyd. The plans have been submitted to the council and are awaiting approval. The cast iron statue will be a representation of the work of the poet.

Ted Hughes died in 1998. He was born in the village on Aspinall Street and lived there until he was seven, when he moved to nearby Mexborough with his family. The area where he lived was incredibly influential to his work and nature, and his upbringing in the Calder Valley offered him much inspiration.

Later on in life, Hughes went on to establish The Arvon Foundation at a home in Heptonstall, and Sylvia Plath, his first wife, is buried in the churchyard there.

The sculpture will feature a large milk churn and two foxes, which will be life-sized. One of the foxes will sit on top of the milk churn and will be facing north towards Red Acre Wood. This location has been chosen because it is central to the village itself and opposite the War Memorial. The site that has been set aside for the sculpture is in the centre of the village and is land that has been re-landscaped and reconstructed as part of the flood defences for Mytholmroyd by the Environment Agency.

At the moment, the only reference in the public realm to Hughes is a small plaque that can be seen near the house he grew up in on Aspinall Street, despite his reputation as an international literary figure. It is hoped that the statue will redress this imbalance.

Wong Phui Nam, Malaysian Literary Pioneer Dies Aged 87

The poet Wong Phui Nam, who was one of the most widely revered figures in Malaysian literature, has died at the age of 87.

Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1935, the poet was schooled first in Chinese and then in English. He attended the University of Malaya in Singapore, now known as the National University of Singapore, and then went on to begin a corporate career in merchant banking and development finance. However, he never lost the passion that he had for writing in his younger years, and this was something that he turned to alongside his job. He was very active in both the poetry and literary scenes and assisted with the literary magazine “The New Cauldron”.

He produced a number of poems during the 1960s that were published as “How The Hills Are Distant”. He remained quite quiet during the 1970s and 1980s and published no new works at all. In 1988 all of his poetry was translated and then published in French, and many of his poems could be found in university texts.

Wong also penned two plays for the theatre, Anike, which was a Malaysian version of Sophocles Antigone, and Aduni, which was an adaptation of Medea by Euripides.

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