Poet Ted Hughes on Writing and Fly Fishing

April 15, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

If you are familiar with the life of poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes, who was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998 and who was married to Sylvia Plath, you might expect a quirky and highly personal take on fly fishing. And that is what you get, from the new Letters of Ted Hughes (Faber and Faber, 756 pages), edited by Christopher Reid. “His letters reveal a Waltonesque obsession with angling: ‘Dry Fly Fishing is a psychologically determined activity — making slight understatements at the surface in the hope of interesting the organic mysteries and terrors in the depth …’ But for him, it was a dangerous activity; it could put you off your work: ‘… the whole motive of writing finds perfect and satisfying expression in fishing. Fishing is a substitute for symbolic activity that simply short-circuits the need to write.'”
More about Hughes on Wikipedia.