Ted Hughes is time and again described as one of the twentieth century’s best English poets. Born August 17th, 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, his family migrated to Mexborough when he was seven to run a newspaper and smoke shop. He went to Mexborough grammar school, and wrote his primary poems at the age of fifteen, several of which made their way into the school publication. Prior to beginning English studies at Cambridge University (having won a scholarship in 1948), he used up a great deal of his National service time reading Shakespeare‘s work. According to some reports, he could narrate it all by heart. At Cambridge, he spent most of his time reading folklore and Yeat's poems, and switched from English to Archaeology and Anthropology in his third year.
His first published poem emerged in 1954, the year he graduated from Cambridge. The aliases he used for the early publications were, Daniel Hearing and Peter Crew. From 1955 to 1956, he worked as a gardener, night-watchman, zoo attendant, schoolteacher, and reader for J. Arthur Rank, and planned to teach in Spain then immigrate to Australia. February 26 saw the launch of the literary magazine, the St Botolph's Review, for which Hughes was one of six co-producers. It was also the day he met Sylvia Plath; they were married in four months.
His first book of poems, Hawk in the Rain, was in print in 1957 and received immediate acclaim. It won the Harper publication contest. Over the next 41 years, he would write more than 90 books, and win numerous prizes and fellowships.
Hughes is considered to be somewhat of a nature poet. An enthusiastic countryman and hunter from a young age, he saw writing poems as a continuance of his earlier passion. When his committed suicide in 1963 (prior to their separation a year earlier), many people tried to hold Hughes responsible for her death as a consequence of his adulterous relationship with another woman; recent biographies such as Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet have...