We ought to take this man now

Charles Monteith, then commissioning editor at publishing Faber & Faber, sent the following note to fellow editor and poet T. S. Eliot in 1957 along with a copy of Ted Hughes' first collection of poetry: The Hawk in the Rain. He also suggested maybe sending Hughes a letter of encouragement. Eliot's response can be seen written in pencil. He went on to sign Ted Hughes to Faber & Faber and Hughes went on to become a world-renowned poet and author of children's fiction. From 1984, up until his death in 1998, he also became British Poet Laureate.




I wonder if you'd like to look at this? I must confess that the name of Ted Hughes was unknown to me until these poems arrived; but - as you'll see from the correspondence - he's a young Englishman whose poems have been published chiefly in America. This book, his first, has won the First Publication Award in a contest sponsored by the New York Poetry Centre and judged by Auden, Spender and Marianne Moore. The quality seems to me very uneven; but I think there's some interesting poetry in the book. Though I don't feel we'd want to take him on yet, he might perhaps have a letter of encouragement. Would it, I wonder, be worth while asking Spender informally for some more information about the Award; and about the judges' assessment of Mr. Hughes' work?


I'm inclined to think we ought to take this man now.
Let's discuss him.