Poetry in the Making

25 July 2018

Ted Hughes poet

20 years after Birthday Letters, 8th International Ted Hughes Conference comes to Wales

In the year of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Birthday Letters Cardiff University is pleased to host the 8th International Ted Hughes Conference in collaboration with The Ted Hughes Society.

Ted Hughes (1930 –1998), who served as Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death twenty years ago, was one of the twentieth-century’s greatest writers.  He was ranked by The Times as fourth of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Hughes was married to American poet Sylvia Plath.

This year marks significant anniversaries: twenty years since the poet’s death and the publication of his final work Birthday Letters, which famously references the loss of his first wife and fifty years since his best-known children’s work, The Iron Man.

Making its debut in Wales, the conference features a poetry reading by the award-winning poet Gillian Clarke, the third National Poet of Wales. Clarke is one of the central figures of contemporary Welsh poetry and winner of the Queen’s Gold medal for Poetry and the Wilfred Owen Award.

Organiser of the event in School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Dr Carrie Smith is co-founder of the Ted Hughes Society Journal and leads the roundtable on Hughes and his archives in the UK. She said:

“We are delighted to welcome this international group of experts to Wales in the year that marks the 20th anniversary of Birthday Letters. We are proud to host the conference in a nation steeped in poetry and great literature. We are particularly delighted to highlight these connections with a special poetry reading from alumna Gillian Clarke. Another highlight is Dr Juliette Wood’s plenary which makes connections between Hughes and the Mabinogion.”

The three-day event includes twelve panel discussions offering new insights themed in imaginative ways, discussing topics such as Religion, Art and Material culture, Children’s Literature, the Stage and Science and Hughes’s archives in the UK.

More than 40 contributors from across the globe include scholars from across Asia, Europe and North America.

Participants include Selma Alispahić (Sarajevo Film Academy), Pat Aske (Cambridge),Di Beddow (Queen Mary University), Bella Biddle (Central Saint Martins), Jamie Castell (Cardiff),  Ruth Crossley (Huddersfield), Krishnendu Das Gupta, C E Dreyer (South Wales), Steve Ely (Huddersfield), Christine Faunch (Exeter), Peter Fydler, Terry Gifford (Bath Spa), Mick Gowar (Angela Ruskin),  Sayuri Hiwatashi (Meiji), Claas Kazzer, Lorraine Kerslake (Alicante), Gregory Leadbetter (Birmingham City), Gary Leising (Utica), Mimi McKay, Tony Othen (Greenwich Gallery), Lissa Paul (Brock), Felicity Powell (Sheffield), Yvonne Reddick (Central Lancashire), Neil Roberts (Sheffield), James Robinson (Durham), Katherine Robinson (Cambridge), Judy Rye (Exeter), Dibakar Sarkar (Ramakrishna Mission), Sara Shahwan (Ain Shams), Martin Shaw (Schumacher), Carrie Smith (Cardiff), Janne Stigen Drangsholt (Stavanger), Mike Sweeting, Fiona Tomkinson , David Troupes (Fellow of the Jerwood Opera Writing Programme), James Underwood (Huddersfield), David Whitley (Cambridge) and Mark Wormald (Cambridge).

Poetry in the Making, the 8th International Ted Hughes Conference takes place at Gregynog Hall in Mid Wales (28th-30th August).