Ted Hughes (left) is honored today by his inclusion at the Poet's Corner in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey. The practice of honoring the greatest poets with a tomb or stove is a 600 year tradition in Britain. (pictured on the right is photo of some of the markers)
The list of those honored before him include the likes of Dryden, Browning, Tennyson, Shelly, Keats, Blake, Hopkins and Eliot.
Hughes' inclusion came after some heavy duty lobby by a number of poets including Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage. Britain's Poet Laureate from 1984 till his death in 1998 on might have though Hughes o be an early lock for the honor.
I've read a number of Ted Hughes' published works. While his first book, Hawk in the Rain is outstanding and won critical acclaim when published in the late 1950's it is Birthday Letters, published the year he died that I most remember him for. This work forever links him and his response to the final work of his first wife Sylvia Plath.
I have to say that while Hughes is a masterful poet, I have often wondered how long i would have been before his talents were truly recognized without Sylvia. I was her belief in Ted and her dogged work typing manuscripts and sending them off that netted his recognition for Hawk in the Rain. I have always seen Ted as the more laid back Brit and Sylvia with that American ambition driving him forward.