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For autographs of these cards see:   February &    November.

The late Ted Hughes, with what by all reliable reports was characteristic kindness, sent two cards  in answer to instalments of (1)the first two thirds of THE IMMODEST PROPOSAL that were then complete - i.e. some 120 eight-line Byronic stanzas;  (2)the remaining stanzas of Imm. Pro. plus some other poems. The ‘Canto Three’ to which he refers has been since since renumbered, &  includes the section titled Comparative Litterateur Impugns... Below see a transcription of what he wrote. For the autograph see: 5/2/97, & 15/11/97.


Court Green,  North Tawton,  Devon,  EX202 EH

5 February 97

Dear Sydney -

When I opened your letter I just started in on the verse - as a dip, to get a taste. Well I was mesmerised. I read through to the end. Wonderful frenze (sic)  of spot-on rhymes and sword-daring sort of eloquence - or rapier and cutlass in action demonstration. Intensely enjoyable, I find it.

- And there you are on Inishbofin with a clear head. Last time I had a clear head was - after a few months in the house among the trees across the bay from Cleggan jetty. Miss(?) Brown’s house. (She was 90 then).

All the best and thanks for the enlivening read and surprising lines.


Ted (Hughes)


Court Green,  North Tawton,  Devon,  EX202 EH

15 Nov 97

Dear Sydney - thanks for the latest installment(sic).I hung onto Canto Three & went through it hair on end nearly. Great stuff.

So then I pounced on your other pages. Wonderfully telling stuff again - moreso I think with that target. The Fiagach seems to me a marvellous poem - a sculpture of razor blades like one of those African sculptures of nails driven into a huma(sic) image till it’s a solid iron hedgehog.

Keep in touch.

And keep well

Ted H


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