Ted Hughes poem about Plath's last days published

Thu Oct 7, 2010 8:41am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - A newly discovered poem by Ted Hughes describing his first wife Sylvia Plath's final days before her suicide was published on Thursday.

"Last Letter," which appears in the New Statesman magazine, opens with the line "What happened that night? Your final night" and ends with the moment Hughes is informed of his wife's death.

Hughes and Plath were among the 20th century's most famous poets, and their troubled relationship culminating in Plath's suicide in 1963 aged 30 has long been a source of fascination.

Journalist Melvyn Bragg, guest editor of the latest New Statesman edition, was directed to the piece by Hughes' second wife Carol. It was located in the poet's archive at the British Library.

He said it fitted into the poet's award-winning "Birthday Letters" series published in 1998, which details his relationship with Plath.

Although the published poems refer to Plath's suicide, they do not directly address the circumstances of her death. The New Statesman described the new discovery as the "missing link" in the sequence.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>A sketch of British poet Ted Hughes by Sylvia Plath entitled "Portrait of me, made by Sylvia Plath, circa 1957" is seen in this image released by Bonhams auctioneers in central London September 29, 2005. REUTERS/Bonhams/Handout</p>