Ariel's Gift

Erica Wagner
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ISBN 9780571205264 Format N/A
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About Book

Erica Wagner provides a comprehensive guide to the poems that must constitute one of the most extraordinary and powerful volumes published in the last century. When Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters was published in 1998, it was greeted with astonishment and acclaim. Few suspected that Ted Hughes had been at work, for a quarter of a century, on a cycle of poems addressed almost entirely to his first wife, the American poet Sylvia Plath. In Ariel's Gift, Erica Wagner offers a commentary on the poems, pointing the reader towards the events that shaped them, and, crucially, showing how they draw upon Plath's own work.
  • About Erica Wagner

    Erica Wagner was born in New York City. She moved to Britain in the 1980s and now lives in London; she is consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar, a contributing writer for The New Statesman, and writes for other publications including The Economist, The New York Times and Vogue; for many years she was literary editor of The Times.

    Her books are Gravity (Granta), Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters (Faber & Faber) and a novel, Seizure (Faber & Faber). She co-authored a performance piece, Pas de Deux, with storyteller Abbi Patrix and musician Linda Edsjö, which is still performed around the world. She is at work on a biography of Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, to be published by Bloomsbury. Her stories have been widely anthologised and been broadcast on the radio; her poems have appeared in The TLS and PNReview.

    She is a highly regarded interviewer of such writers as Seamus Heaney, Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, Maurice Sendak, Philip Pullman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gitta Sereny, Paul Auster, Alan Garner, Peter Ackroyd, Bill Bryson, Sarah Waters, Kazuo Ishiguro and Nick Hornby -- as well as Harrison Ford, Michelle Williams, Harry Belafonte and Buzz Aldrin. She has been a guest on such programmes as Today, Front Row, The Culture Show, and (in the USA) Charlie Rose and Larry King Live.

    She has judged many literary prizes; the Man Booker in 2002 and 2014, the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Forward Prize. She won the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence Award in 2014. When she’s not writing, she’s reading -- or cooking, or just sometimes watching Vikings, Deadwood, or The Good Wife.

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