Cultural Comment: Monitor: The range of tributes to the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes - as seen by the newspapers

NOT ONLY did this imposing, craggily handsome Yorkshireman look the part - more so than any Laureate since Tennyson - but he used the post to continue on a more public stage his campaign for the imagination and against what he saw as our despiritualised and disembodied civilisation. Hughes's concern with the environment puts him in the mainstream of much modern thought. His belief that the women's movement reflected the unleashing of primeval forces was a little more eccentric, though. But raising one's eyebrows at the wider reaches of his thought seems as irrelevant as noting his archaic and ardent royalism. These things were as necessary to his imagination as the spirit-world was to Yeats, and his best work rises free of them.


THERE'S ALWAYS a problem being a poet in unpoetic times, but Ted had a very deep rooted sense of where his poetry came from - and it was quite unlike a lot of other contemporary poetry which seems to be about incidents and personal relationships - and that's why he will have this survival value.

-Malcolm Bradbury, Guardian

LAUREATE POEMS were never his forte, but it was a chore which he dutifully carried out. He much preferred to send private poems, not for publication, to the Queen Mother, with whom he often stayed in Scotland and shared a passion for fishing, and also to other members of the Royal family. This reticence was typical of Hughes, always preferring to perform in a private and modest manner. "The whisper is louder than the shout", he would tell friends when asked if he would like to comment on his work. He preferred to let it stand on its own.


YESTERDAY THE Queen paid her tribute to his genius. Buckingham Palace said she was "very saddened" and in touch with his family. She was grateful for the opportunity to recognise his achievements before he died through the Order of Merit - an exceptional distinction limited to 24 living recipients. Tony Blair described him as a "towering figure" in 20th century literature.


TO A GENERATION of women he was a mythological ogre. They have never been able to forget the awful suicide of his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath, in 1963, a tragedy made more painful by the clinical way in which she planned her death.

She left bread and milk in the cots of her two sleeping babies in case they awoke, then went downstairs and gassed himself... If ever the dead haunted the living, Sylvia's ghost hovered over the career of her husband. With his brooding male chauvinism, his philandering and the way he put the demands of his own writing first, he became the token villain, the representative of all men who tried to hold back the pre-feminist generation of women.

-Daily Mail

POET TED is dead.


TED HUGHES was throughout his adult life a private man, firm, shy, quietly - and occasionally boisterously - humorous in company, amiable but withdrawn. He was physically impressive, tall, broad-shouldered, with a massive head, nose and chin and with a deep voice that never lost its deliberate West Riding vowels. He was a most distinctive reader of his own poems, when he could be persuaded to read them: gently, modestly introducing them, he might then plunge into the horrors of the Crow poems, on occasion causing some in the audience to faint.

-Daily Telegraph

BRITAIN'S TOP poet for fourteen years.

-Daily Star

Lightning and stone and

wild winds

And rough earth things and

elemental spells

Were his elements. He had more

Than a touch of Prospero as a


He was the rough Merlin of our age.

-Ben Okri, Guardian

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May


Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before