Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ted Hughes should be in Poets' Corner, says Heaney

Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes was appointed poet laureate in 1985

Poet Ted Hughes could be recognised with a plaque in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney said Hughes, a former poet laureate, was "one of the vital presences in 20th Century poetry".

Irish poet Heaney has led calls for the Dean of Westminster to honour Hughes - a move supported by Sir Andrew Motion and Lord Melvyn Bragg.

Hughes, who lived in Devon for nearly 40 years, died of cancer in 1998.

Hughes would be the first poet to be selected for a plaque since Sir John Betjeman, whom he succeeded as laureate in 1984.

Plath suicide

William Blake, TS Eliot, Wilfred Owen and Edmund Spenser are already honoured at Westminster Abbey.

Heaney said Hughes deserved to be in Poets' Corner because he was a visionary poet with a high sense of his calling and high achievement in his art.

The poet, who was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, moved to North Tawton in Devon in 1961 and remained in the county until his death. His body was cremated in Exeter.

Hughes was married to American poet Sylvia Plath, but when she discovered her husband was having an affair, she killed herself.

There is no suggestion Hughes, who was poet laureate from 1985 until his death, would have his ashes re-interred at the Abbey.

A spokeswoman for the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said a number of letters had been received and were being considered.

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