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Workshop – Ted Hughes 

Mayday on Holderness is the decisive poem in Ted Hughes’s oeuvre, important for several reasons: it is his first ecopoem, his first free verse poem and his first poetic wrestle with his early reputation as a “poet of violence”.   


However, the true significance of the poem is in the way it lays out, in an almost manifesto-like way, the major theme of his subsequent work: his view of the Universe as an infinite flux of creation and devouring, an Empedoclean interplay of Love (Philotes) and Strife (Neikos), in which humans must find their place and meaning. 


Join Steve Ely, poet and Director of the Ted Hughes Network at the University of Huddersfield, for a talk, close reading and discussion of this seminal poem. 


Steve Ely  is an award-winning poet and writer based in Yorkshire. He has written 10 books or poetry pamphlets, including The European Eel, Lectio Violant and Englaland. Two further books, Orasaigh (a collaboration with photographer Michael Faint) and Eely are out in 2024. Steve teaches creative writing at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Director of the Ted Hughes Network, a research centre with a particular brief to engage non-academic communities with Hughes’s work. He is the author of Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire: Made in Mexborough, a biographical work that explores the importance of Hughes’s early Yorkshire years, and several journal papers and book chapters about Hughes’s work. He recently won a major AHRC grant to complete a book entitled Ted Hughes’s Expressionism: Visionary Subjectivity and he organised a symposium of that name at the British Library in 2023, where he gave the keynote address. Steve recently led the Discovering Ted Hughes’s Yorkshire project, creating six literary trail maps that allow walkers to explore Hughes’s formative Yorkshire landscapes. 


Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request. 


Date: Thursday 18 April 

Time: 7pm-9pm 

Venue: Room OA5/11, Oastler Building, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate HD1 3DH 

Tickets: £12 (£5 conc), free for University of Huddersfield staff and students & essential carers. Age Guidance: 16+ 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/oastler-building 

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