The achievement of Ted Hughes as a poet is inseparable from his achievement as a translator of poetry and poetic drama. Throughout a long and intensely productive career, Hughes was continuously engaged in acts of translation, for the page and for the stage, starting with his role in the establishment of the annual Poetry International in London and the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation, which he co-founded with Daniel Weissbort in 1965, and which notably brought to attention poets such as the Israeli Yehuda Amichai, the Hungarian Janos Pilinszky and the Yugoslav Vasko Popa.
The present volume, edited by Weissbort, surveys this aspect of Hughes's canon for the first time, offering a broad selection from his numerous translations, together with hitherto unpublished material (versions of Paul Eluard, or of Yves Bonnefoy), and excerpts from essays and letters. Strongly rooted in a native tradition, Hughes was nevertheless indebted to literary cultures other than his own, and his work far transcends national boundaries. The present volume selects from his versions from a wide variety of ancient texts - the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Aeschylus, Euripides, Ovid, Seneca, Racine - and equally from a range of twentieth century European poets and dramatists.
Daniel Weissbort and Ted Hughes founded the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation in 1965. Until 1999 Weissbort directed the Translation Program at the University of Iowa. His has published anthologies of Russian and East European poetry as well as collections of his own poetry. Ted Hughes and Weissbort edited a Selected Poems of Yehuda Amichai (Faber, 2000). Weissbort is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Translation at the University of Warwick. Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was born in Yorkshire. His first book, The Hawk in the Rain, was published in 1957 by Faber and Faber and was followed by many volumes of poetry and prose for adults and children. He received the Whitbread Book of the Year for two consecutive years for his last published collections of poetry, Tales from Ovid (1997) and Birthday Letters (1998). He was Poet Laureate from 1984, and in 1998 he was appointed to the Order of Merit. Among Ted Hughes's translations Faber and Faber have published Aeschylus The Oresteia (1999), Euripides's Alcestis (2000) and Tales from Ovid (2002).