Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:21 UK

Rare Ted Hughes journal acquired by British Library

St Botolph's Review
The British Library is a major centre for Hughes research

A rare copy of the journal which launched the career of late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes has been acquired by the British Library.

The aging, dog-eared edition of Saint Botolph's Review contains several handwritten notes by the poet.

The Review, which was established by Hughes and his peers at Cambridge University, featured some of the first works published under Hughes' own name.

It was acquired by the Library from his widow, Carol.

It is one of only three copies of the journal held in UK public institutions, and the only one with handwritten notes.

In 2008, the Library acquired hundreds of unpublished poems, letters and notebooks by the former Poet Laureate.

The stained copy of Saint Botolph's Review features a note from Hughes on its cover explaining the damage came from a bottle of wine which smashed as his friend Luke Myers fell off his bike.

He wrote: "He was out selling copies (of which this is one) from his pannier basket, which they shared with the bottles."

First poems

The first edition of the Review was created by Hughes with Myers, and fellow Cambridge contemporaries Daniel Huws, David Ross and Daniel Weissbort in February 1956.

The magazine featured poetry and prose written by its contributors and included the first poems Hughes published under his own name.

It was at a party to celebrate the launch of the magazine that Hughes met his first wife and muse Sylvia Plath - as he later documented in his poem, St Botolph's published in Birthday Letters in 1998.

The journal entered a long period of hibernation after that party, with a second edition only appearing in 2006 - long after Hughes and Plath had died.

Helen Broderick, curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library, said: "This acquisition of an annotated first edition of the Saint Botolph's Review offers researchers insight into Hughes's early work and will I hope lead to further research into his life and development as a poet and writer."

The Library is also releasing a new audio CD of Plath - who committed suicide by gassing herself in 1963 - speaking as poet, interviewee and critic.

There is also a rare recording of Plath and Hughes talking about their creative work and their relationship.



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The Independent The poetry of courtship: Plath and Hughes caught on tape - 5 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes talk about their relationship - 6 hrs ago
The Scotsman British Library gains poet Ted Hughes' journal - 16 hrs ago


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