Ted Hughes: A Brother’s Memories
Friday 14 October 2016
Blenheim Palace, The GalleryVenue
Bafta-nominated filmmaker David Cohen introduces the first public showing of his film on the life of the poet Ted Hughes and discusses with Hughes’s biographer Professor Sir Jonathan Bate and director of the Ted Hughes Network Dr Steve Ely some of the issues raised in it.
The 50-minute film, Ted Hughes: Dreamtime, is based on the memoir, Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir, written by Hughes’s surviving elder brother Gerald. Cohen went out to Australia to interview Gerald. The film includes contributions from other family members including his widow, Carol, and his daughter, Frieda. In the film, Gerald recounts their childhood, how their mother nurtured Ted’s poetic talent and how the countryside influenced him. It follows his life through his schooldays into maturity and his early death. Hughes was regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation and was poet laureate between 1984 and his death in 1998. His first marriage was to the American poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide at the age of 30.
Cohen is a psychologist, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker. His film for ITV on the Soham murders, When Holly Went Missing, was nominated for a Bafta. His books include Freud on Coke, The Escape of Sigmund Freud, Diana: Death of a Goddess and Great Psychologists as Parents.
Bate is provost of Worcester College and professor of English at the University of Oxford. He spent five years in the Hughes archive, unearthing a wealth of new material, including unpublished poems, drafts and memorandums for his biography Ted Hughes. In it, he throws new light on Hughes’s lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife and fellow poet Sylvia Plath. Ted Hughes was named a book of the year by the Spectator, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Financial Times and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize.
Ely is a poet, novelist and biographer, and a lecturer in creative writing and director of the Ted Hughes Network at the University of Huddersfield. He is the chair of the Ted Hughes Project (South Yorkshire), a community-based organisation that seeks to develop the legacy of Ted Hughes in and around Hughes’s childhood home of Mexborough and runs the annual Ted Hughes Poetry Festival.
This event lasts 2 hours.