‘B.L. notebooks and drafts III’

Scope and Content

Contains fifteen notebooks with annotated autograph notes, eleven of which are school exercise books, many with the names of their former owners written on them. Notebooks contain poetry drafts, with annotations and corrections. Includes untitled poems, some of which were not included in the published collection of Birthday Letters and a draft of 'The Offers' entitled 'Mind-warp' published as part of Howls and Whispers (The Gehenna Press, 1998). Several of the notebooks contain inserted drafts and notes, one with 'P. Hunt June 1960' written on the cover contains notes relating to poems and events in Hughes's life, many relating to Sylvia Plath. One notebook with 'Stuart Brown' written on the cover contains entries of a dream diary and another marked 'Book list January-April 1985' contains a list of poems, which are identifiable as the contents of Birthday Letters although the names of many of them are different. A listing of poems and notes can also be found in a beige exercise book with a yellow cross marked on it using masking tape. On a page, which has been inserted into the notebook marked '18 Rugby Street', Hughes wrote about Crow in what seems to have been an introduction to a poetry reading that starts 'The poems I'm going to read belong to the life-story of a character that I call Crow' (for further Crow material see Add MS 88918/1/23-34). The notebook marked 'Hildrid, History' contains a list of poems entitled 'The Sorrows of the Deer', an earlier title for Birthday Letters, and drafts of poems, some of which were included in the published collection (including 'The Rabbit Catcher', 'Flounders', 'The Chipmunk' and '9 Willow Street') and others which were not. Several of the poems relate to time spent in different places in Britain and America by Hughes and Plath. Loose leaf pages of poetry drafts and notes previously inserted into the Challenge triplicate notebook have been placed separately in the same folder, whilst those in the large hardback green volume have been kept at the front of the volume. This folder includes undated material.


Originally held in one box file

Conditions Governing Access


Not Public Record(s)

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

2 folders and 1 oversize volume