The first ever Ted Hughes Poetry Festival to take place in Mexborough, will celebrate, commemorate and reclaim Ted Hughes as a South Yorkshire poet, honouring Hughes’s roots in the town this July.
The festival, which has been arranged by Right Up Our Street, will take place between July 3 and 5, in and around Ted Hughes’s old grammar school where he was inspired to write his first poems.
Dominic Somers, Arts Supporter for Right Up Our Street said: “This event is a long time coming and lots of people have worked very hard to put on this special chance to explore Hughes’s formative years in Mexborough while also engaging with performances by some of the best contemporary poets around.“Over the three day festival there will be a mixture of free and paid for events open to all.
The event is supported by Right Up Our Street, Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership and the many poets, artists and volunteers who have worked to make this inaugural event a reality.”
Ted Hughes was an English poet and children’s writer who is often ranked as one of the best poets of his generation. Hughes, whose early years were spent in South Yorkshire, held the post of British Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death.
It was at Mexborough Grammar School where Hughes came under the spell of two charismatic teachers, Pauline Mayne and John Fisher, who introduced him to the poetry that would form his taste and shape his own work — Eliot, Lawrence, Hopkins, Donne, Shelley — and of course, Hughes’s beloved Shakespeare.
At the school, Hughes wrote, directed and acted in plays and crucially, wrote his first poems, which he published in the school magazine, The Don & Dearne. By the age of eighteen, Hughes was recognisably the poet and man-of-letters of his maturity and was recognised as such in the school and wider community by his teachers, peers, friends and family.
The festival begins on July 3 at Mexborough Business Centre, formerly Mexborough Grammar School at 5.30pm and the evening will include ‘Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire’ by poet and Hughes author Steve Ely, Poetry reading by Ian Parks, described by Chiron Review as ‘the finest love poet of his generation’ and Ted’s Ballads and Folksongs performed by Mick Jenkinson- Organiser Of Doncaster Folk, Roots, Acoustic And Dance Festival.
“There will be creative writing workshops, pop up performances, poetry giveaways and lots of playfulness throughout the weekend.
“We are sure that the festival will develop creativity — poetry, writing and art — in and around Mexborough, in Hughes’s name,” added Dominic.
For listings of events and to book tickets for individual nights or to book a full festival pass visit www.tedhughesproject.org