Edward James Hughes OM (17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998) was an English poet and children's writer, known as Ted Hughes. Critics routinely rank him as one of the best poets of his generation. Hughes was British Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death.
Hughes was married to the American poet Sylvia Plath, from 1956 through 1962. She committed suicide in 1963 at the age of 30. His part in the relationship became controversial to some feminists and (particularly) American admirers of Plath. Hughes himself never publicly entered the debate, but his last poetic work, Birthday Letters (1998), explored their complex relationship. To some, it put him in a significantly better light whereas, to others, it seemed a failed attempt to deflect blame from himself and onto a neurotic father fixation he ascribed to Plath.
Hughes was born on 17 August 1930 at number 1, Aspinal Street, in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire to William Henry and Edith (née Farrar) Hughesand raised among the local farms in the area. According to Hughes, "My first 6 years shaped everything." When Hughes was seven his family moved to Mexborough, South Yorkshire, where they ran a newsagents and tobacco shop. His brother Gerald was 10 years older and his sister Olwyn, two years older. He attended Mexborough Grammar School, where his teachers encouraged him to write. In 1946 one of his early poems Wild West and a short story were published in the grammar school magazine The Don and Dearne, followed by further poems in 1948.