Yesterday evening a memorial stone was unveiled in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey for my favourite English Poet, the late Ted Hughes. Hughes, whose work towered over most of his generation joined the other well known poets of yesteryear: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, Shelley and Blake. I think it obsessive of me, but I pay tribute to Hughes every year by visiting his last home in North Tawton, Devon and his resting stone in Dartmoor National Park. I draw from his reflections (Birthday Letters) he wrote months before he died and I deeply miss hearing his voice occasionally on BBC Radio.
At exactly the same time and in Westminster, I had pleasure of meeting another Shelley, a young fledgling poet whose work I’ve only just come to know and admire. It’s refreshing to find a writer who can show us the world, the hurt / joy / wonder within and our place in it. Isn’t that exactly what a poet should do? I see Shelley’s work as the distillation of human emotion that most fail to notice or care to write about and through her poetry and paintings, she unveils a radiant mind. Of course I know that these things are subjective, but I’ve marked this date in my blue diary as a happy coincidence.