Festival pays tribute to South Yorkshire poet laureate

Poet Ted Hughes
Poet Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, Mexborough

This first-ever festival in his place of birth aims to celebrate, commemorate and reclaim Ted Hughes as a South Yorkshire poet.

The festival will take place between Friday and Sunday in and around Ted Hughes’s old grammar school, where he was inspired to write his first poems.

Dominic Somers, arts supporter for organisers Right Up Our Street said: “This event is a long time coming and lots of people have worked very hard to put on this special chance to explore Hughes’s formative years in Mexborough while also engaging with performances by some of the best contemporary poets around.”

Ted Hughes held the post of poet laureate from 1984 until his death.

At Mexborough Grammar School he came under the spell of charismatic teachers Pauline Mayne and John Fisher, who introduced him to the poetry that would shape his own work.

He wrote, directed and acted in plays and crucially, wrote his first poems, which he published in the school magazine, The Don & Dearne. By the age of 18, his talent was already being recognised.

The festival begins on Friday at Mexborough Business Centre, formerly the grammar school, at 5.30pm and the evening will include a talk, Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire, by poet and Hughes author Steve Ely. There will also be poetry readings and performances of his ballads and folk songs.

Other events include creative writing workshops, pop-up performances and poetry giveaways.For listings of events and to book tickets or a full festival pass, visit www.tedhughesproject.org