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Haystacks, Winkleigh, Devon
Haystacks, Winkleigh, Devon. Moortown Farm, where many of Hughes »nature« poetry of the mid-seventies is set, is located near this little town.

Emory University: Robert Woodruff Library Special Collections: General Information

This page has additional information on the Ted Hughes Archives at Emory University, Atlanta.

In February 1997, Emory University acquired a huge amount of Ted Hughes's papers, including manuscripts and photographs. You will find a transcript of the original announcement below.

In May 2003, Emory University added Ted Hughes's library to their archives. You can read the announcement of this acquisition here.

The following is a transcript of the news in the Emory Newsletter, March 20 1997:

Emory Acquires Papers of English Poet Laureate Ted Hughes

The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Emory University has acquired the literary papers of English Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. This extensive archive, with a shipping weight of 5,000 pounds, includes many drafts of poems from each of Hughes' published collections as well as literary correspondence, photographs and related materials. 

»The university is very pleased that we have been able to acquire the papers of Ted Hughes,« says Emory President Bill Chace, who is a modern English literature scholar. »His contribution to English poetry has been powerful and immensely influential. Indeed, his being named poet laureate came in recognition of the ways in which he has changed English poetic statement. He has been among those who have made it more forceful, immediate, visceral and disturbing,« says Chace. »In addition, his affinity with some of the leading poets of Northern Ireland makes the arrival of his papers at Emory particularly appropriate, for our collection has thus gained greater coherence and depth.« 

The collection will be located in the Woodruff Library's Special Collections Department, which has strong modern literature holdings including works by W.B. Yeats and his circle and extensive holdings in contemporary Irish poetry. See web site at http://www.emory.edu/LIB/schome.htm

Hughes has been England's poet laureate since 1984: His numerous publications include critically acclaimed poetry, among them The Hawk in the Rain, Lupercal, Wodwo, Crow, Moortown, and Wolfwatching; many books for children; as well as plays, short stories, translations, and anthologies. The School Bag, co-edited by Hughes and Seamus Heaney, recently has been published by Faber and Faber. An extensive web site on Hughes can be found at www.uni-leipzig.de/~angl/hughes. 

According to Keith Sagar, Hughes' bibliographer, this vast archive »must be the most important such archive in the whole field of poetry in English of the second half of the 20th century, not only because of Hughes' pre-eminence among the poets of the period, but also because of the extent to which a study of his manuscripts can help bring us to a full and deep realization of his poetic achievement and the nature and workings of the poetic imagination itself.« 

Steve Enniss, curator of literary collections in Emory's Special Collections Department, shipped the collection from England earlier this month. »Emory was contacted because of the library's strong modern literature holdings,« says Enniss who supervised the unloading of the 86 boxes that contained the Hughes Papers when they arrived at Emory on March 5. The library has been building its modern literature collections since the late 1970s when Richard Ellmann, noted biographer of James Joyce, joined the Emory faculty. 

Hughes was born on Aug. 17, 1930, in Mytholmroyd, a small mill town in West Yorkshire, England. The family moved to Mexborough, a coal-mining town in South Yorkshire, when Hughes was seven. After attending local grammar school, Hughes won an Open Exhibition to Pembroke College, Cambridge. Before going to Cambridge in 1951, he served two years in the RAF. While at Cambridge, Hughes met and married the American poet Sylvia Plath in 1956. Hughes began writing poetry while at Cambridge but worked as a teacher and other various jobs before turning to writing fulltime. Over his literary career, Hughes has been the recipient of numerous literary honors and awards, among them the Guinness Poetry Award in 1958, the Somerset Maugham Award in 1960, the Hawthornden Prize in 1961, the City of Florence International Poetry Prize in 1969, the Premio Internazionale Taormina in 1973 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1974. After Plath's death in 1963, Hughes played an active role in seeing her unpublished writing into print. In 1970, he married Carol Orchard with whom he lives in the county of Devon, England. 

During the years since 1997, sighting and catalogueing went ahead to make the material available for research. This lead to some interesting discoveries, several of which were promptly picked up by various newspapers.

Among the finds were manuscript pages of draft poems by Sylvia Plath which had drafts of Ted Hughes poems on the reverse side, and material relating to Falcon Yard the lost novel Sylvia Plath had been working on. Some of these finds have been reported in issues of Emory Magazine (eg. Emory Magazine: Autumn 1997, In Brief).

Already in 1997, Terry Gifford had the opportunity to visit the collection and take a glimpse at what was there. He sent me his article for inclusion on this site (You can read it here [On-line essay] .)

Over the years, Steve Enniss, curator of the literary collections, frequently reported on important additions to the archive.

Early in 2000, the spring issue of Emory Magazine ran a very nice feature on Ted Hughes.

The collection was officially opened in April 2000. Since then, a permanent exhibit has been on display at the library.

For further information and access of some of the original publications and announcements, please go to the Emory University web site.

For further information on manuscrips and manuscript sales, you may want to visit Roy Davids's web site (select »Articles« in the menu) [On-line essays] .

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