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Ted Hughes honored at Westminster Abbey

Dec. 7, 2011 at 5:52 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A service has been held dedicating a floor stone to Britain's former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes at Westminster Abbey in London, the BBC said.

Hughes died of a heart attack in 1998 while undergoing treatment for colon cancer when he was 68. He was cremated, but is now memorialized in Poets' Corner, the area in the centuries-old abbey where literary lion Geoffrey Chaucer is buried.

Charles Dickens, Edmund Spenser, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy also are interred in Poets' Corner, while William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, John Milton, Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake and T.S. Eliot are memorialized there.

Although regarded as one of the most important poets of the 20th century, Hughes' legacy is often eclipsed by his tragic personal life. He was married to troubled author and poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide in 1963. Another girlfriend later also killed herself, as well as their young daughter. His son took his own life in 2009.

Poet Seamus Heaney unveiled Hughes' floor stone at the abbey Tuesday night. More than 300 guests, including Hughes's wife Carol and daughter Frieda, attended the ceremony, the BBC said.

"Now the name of Ted Hughes is to be found here, too, his ledger stone at the foot of T.S. Eliot's, his hero and champion," said the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster during the service. "Thus we honor the memory of one of the greatest English poets. May his words continue to inspire, to challenge, to encourage.

May his name live for evermore."

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