“Now, think of your uncle,”. . . Ted Hughes and the Art of Thinking

by Philip F. Clark

Ted Hughes was an extraordinary poet; often over-shadowed with rumor and conjecture about his marriage to Sylvia Plath, its dissolution, and her death. I can only just now come to him with new open space, and enjoy him on his own, untouched and unmarked by anything but his extraordinary insight, his celebratory imagination, and his real honesty. Pain suffuses much of his work at the end; it is the pain of understanding, and of coming to resolution and acceptance. The first recording has his remarkable, stentorian, yet warm and intimate voice surrounding us, as it asks us to think, about thinking.

The second recording is one of his last poems from his final volume of poetry, ‘Birthday Letters.’ It is read by Dave Stewart. It is a riveting, and heart-breaking testament and answer. It is as if he and Sylvia were both in the same room: she a ghost at heel to his adamant, yet far-reaching love. It is a poem that teaches us that the past has nothing we cannot learn from. The past is what we weave every day; yet we wear the future.

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