Forty-five: Poems (Paperback)
The daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes looks back on forty-five years of loves, losses, pain, hope, and joy in this revealing and poignant poetry collection
“Hughes writes about tragedy with [Sylvia] Plath-like wit.”—Entertainment Weekly
Breaking forty-five years of near-silence on the subject of her life, Frieda Hughes opens up through the medium she knows best—poetry. In this extraordinary collection of personal poems, she takes the reader step-by-step through the difficult and inspirational events that defined each year of her life, and which she encapsulates here. We share her pain through her mother’s suicide, her fight against bulimia, three marriages, the devastating loss of her father to cancer, and an insurmountable breakdown in the relationship with her stepmother.
But along with the tribulations, she also shares the happy moments in her life, including her successes, her love, and her ultimate triumphs as an accomplished poet and painter. As she grows older, her narrative unfolds to show a complex life beautifully rendered in her poetry.
Hughes is a master of powerful, moving, and vivid language, as seen with the critical success of her past collections, Wooroloo and Waxworks. For any lover of poetry or for anyone who wants to know what happened to Frieda Hughes after she so tragically lost her mother, this book is the answer.
About the Author
Born in London in 1960, Frieda Hughes is a painter and poet. She has also written children’s books, and was The Times (London) poetry columnist from 2006 to 2008. Frieda’s first collection of poetry, Wooroloo, was named after the hamlet in western Australia where she lived during the 1990s. Other collections followed: Stonepicker; Waxworks; Forty-five, a collection of autobiographical poems based on her life to the age of forty-five; The Book of Mirrors; and Alternative Values. In this last book, Frieda used the subject of her poems to inform the accompanying abstract images—painted in oils on canvas—combining the two driving forces in her life. Her poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The London Magazine, The Times (London), and The Spectator (London). Frieda resides in Wales with owls and motorbikes.
“Anything Frieda Hughes writes is of interest. . . . Biographers of Plath and Hughes. . . should take heed: As these poems show, the family portrait is far from finished.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer
“Striking observation. . . . A talent for image-making. . . . Raw and original.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Frieda Hughes rides on no one’s shoulders. She is her own poet. Her work, at its best, is sharp, vigorous, and cunning. Her vision is strange and imaginative, at times possessing the odd lilting rhythms and surreal imagery of a dark and menacing nursery rhyme.”
— Denver Post
“Hughes writes about tragedy with [Sylvia] Plath-like wit.”
— Entertainment Weekly