Credit: Shutterstock/Ted Hughes

What happens in the heart simply happens

Poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes grew up to be acclaimed as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, although he was lucky to even be born. His father almost died on the Flanders Fields of World War I.

Born in Yorkshire in 1930, the rural surroundings of his upbringing and his father's war stories influenced his later work. He was encouraged in his love of writing at school and knew his destiny was to be a poet by the age of 16.

After national service, he went to university at Cambridge. He found himself feeling stifled by the traditional literature they studied. In fact, he transferred to other disciplines to get away from it.

Afterwards, he worked in many manual jobs, including as a night-watchman and zoo-keeper, which allowed him time to work on his poetry. In 1956, several of his poems were included in a Cambridge University literary publication. It was at the launch party for this that he met his future wife, Sylvia Plath.

His first collected work, Hawk in the Rain (1957), won him publication by Harper. After this, more books including Wodwo (1967) and Crow (1970) cemented his reputation. As a children’s author, he penned The Iron Man, later turned into an animated film, The Iron Giant.

Hughes became Poet Laureate in 1984 and championed literature until his death in 1998 of a heart attack. His memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey sits alongside the likes of peots Byron, Burns, and novelist Jane Austen.