Birthday Letters

Birthday Letters

Product ID: 30376

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Author: Ted Hughes
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 1998
Language: English
Pages: 198
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780571194735


Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters are addressed, with just two exceptions, to Sylvia Plath, the American poet to whom he was married.

They were written over a period of more than twenty-five years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963, and represent Ted Hughes's only account of his relationship with Plath and of the psychological drama that led both to the writing of her greatest poems and to her death. The book became an instant bestseller on its publication in 1998 and won the Forward Prize for Poetry in the same year.


“To read [Birthday Letters] is to experience the psychic equivalent of “the bends”. It takes you down to levels of pressure where the under-truths of sadness and endurance leave you gasping… The book’s contents are unfailingly interesting, but what makes Birthday Letters a poetic as opposed to a publishing landmark is the valency of the poetry itself… This poems give the impression of utterance, avalanching towards vision.”
--- Seamus Heaney, Irish Times

“The Language is like lava, its molten turmoils hardening into jagged shapes, still hot from the earth’s core… You must read them.”
--- John Carey, Sunday Times

“The Poems come dazzling out of the darkness, and they are not answers to his critics after all, or appeals for understanding, but tender and elegiac acts of remembrance.”
--- Nicci Gerrard, Observer

“Even if it were possible to set aside its biographical value… Its linguistic, technical and imaginative feats would guarantee its future. Hughes is one of the most important poets of the century and this is his greatest book.”
--- Andrew Motion, The Times


1. Fulbright Scholars
2. Caryatids (I)
3. Caryatids (II)
4. Visit
5. Sam
6. The Tender Place
7. St Botolph’s
8. The Shot
9. Trophies
10. 18 Rugby Street
11. The Machine
12. God help the Wolf after Whom the Dogs Do Not Bark
13. Fidelity
14. Fate Playing
15. The Owi
16. A Pink Wool Knitted Dress
17. Your Paris
18. You Hated Spain
19. Moonwalk
20. Drawing
21. Fever
22. 55 Eltisley
23. Chaucer
24. Ouija
25. The Earthenware Head
26. Wuthering Heights
27. The Chipmunk
28. Horoscope
29. Flounders
30. The Blue Flannel Suit
31. Child’s Park
32. 9 Willow Street
33. The Literary Life
34. The Bird
35. Astringency
36. The Badlands
37. Fishing Bridge
38. The 59th Bear
39. Grand Canyon
40. Karlsbad Caverns
41. Black Coat
42. Portraits
43. Stubbing Wharfe
44. Remission
45. Isis
46. Epiphany
47. The Gypsy
48. A Dream
49. The Minotaur
50. The Pan
51. Error
52. The Lodger
53. Daffodils
54. The Afterbirth
55. Setebos
56. A Short Film
57. The Rag Film
58. The Table
59. Apprehensions
60. Dream Life
61. Perfect Light
62. The Rabbit Catcher
63. Suttee
64. The Bee God
65. Being Christlike
66. The Beach
67. Dreamers
68. Fairy Tale
69. The Blackbird
70. Totem
71. Robbing Myself
72. Blood and Innocence
73. Costly Speech
74. The Inscription
75. Night-Ride on Ariel
76. Telos
77. Brasilia
78. The Cast
79. The Ventriloquist
80. Life after Death
81. The Hands
82. The Prism
83. The God
84. Freedom of Speech
85. A Picture of Otto
86. Fingers
87. The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother
88. Red