Voices

You will look in vain for an ode to broccoli. And that is because broccoli is rubbish

Ted Hughes: 1930 - 1998 The god of granite who could shatter stones with plain words

MY FIRST, and most recent, exposure to the flinty and percussive rhythms of Ted Hughes's verse both came in settings a world away from the classroom or the armchair. This morning, that point deserves some stress. For this often secretive and embattled man did more than anyone since Tennyson to give great English verse a deep public presence. His impact in the air and on the tongue far outweighs the formal honours symbolised by his accession to the thankless role of Poet Laureate in 1984.

The hawk who held `creation in a weightless quiet'

With his first four books, Hughes changed British poetry, shooting into it a new charge of energy

Books: Praying for the end of King Arthur's grumpy reign

Patricia Craig experiences the long, painful goodbye of a northern Alf Garnett and wonders when, if ever, a restricted life loses its value

Ted Hughes wins pounds 10,000 poetry prize

TED HUGHES, the Poet Laureate, continued his marvellous year last night when his book Birthday Letters won the pounds 10,000 Forward Prize for the best collection of 1998.

First poems published by Plath's daughter

THE DAUGHTER of poet laureate Ted Hughes and the tortured, controversial genius Sylvia Plath, is to follow in her parents' footsteps by publishing her first volume of poems.

Books: Inspirations Novelist and Journalist James Hamilton-Paterson

I can't begin to fathom this column's usual list of categories, having never in my life been inspired by anybody's play, painting, film or book. It is not other people's works that provide the germ or impetus, unless they are so bad (like Tippett's librettos or X's poems) that one half-dreams of re-writing them out of sheer exasperation. The promise of a cheque, or the threat of a deadline, are more potent for the flow of ideas than any amount of grand influences or aspirational flummery.

Theatre: Staging a protest

In my salad days, when I was green in judgement (as Cleopatra, with whom I am oft compared, once remarked), I once acted in a show in Edinburgh. Blame it on my (misspent) youth. The salient point here is not my erstwhile career but the location and the timing of the production in question. This August event took place in April, ie out of Festival time.

What all the best-dressed corpses will be wearing

Death is no excuse for bad dress sense.

The human condition: Here comes trouble

After Prozac Nation comes Bitch, Elizabeth Wurtzel's hymn to bolshy womanhood. Hettie Judah meets a girl who has turned provocation into a lifestyle, not to mention a career

In the news: Meg Ryan - Sweet Meg gets serious with agony of Sylvia Plath

Saccharine Hollywood star battles against image to play tortured poet

Comfort reading

You've tried chocolate (too fattening), analysis (too expensive) and gin (never again). But better than any of these if you're feeling wretched is a course of cheering literature. Hester Lacey asks some readers and writers for their prescriptions

Leading Article: In defence of unhappiness

BEING an MP leads to higher levels of physical and emotional stress, researchers have found. Well, knock us down with a ballot paper. It is a commonplace that you have got to be pretty strange to want to be an MP, and what are academic researchers for if not for dressing up the commonplace?

Ted Hughes scores hat-trick of awards

The Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, yesterday completed an extraordinary comeback when his Tales from Ovid picked up the 40th W H Smith Literary Award, worth pounds 10,000, writes Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor.

I can't stand Sylvia Plath's poetry, but you should hear her comic material

Brian Walden attracted a flurry of publicity the other day by saying the unsayable - that is, for saying that he thought Nelson Mandela was not a wholly admirable person. The late Enoch Powell will be remembered, poor chap, entirely for saying the unsayable on one single occasion, even though it is paradoxical that such a scholarly, academic chap should have caught the public fancy entirely in the character of a fiery racialist. Prince Charles caught the attention of the public by saying the unsayable about modern architecture.

Backroom talent has a muse

Vanessa Thorpe on Faber's secret weapon
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Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?