Or the hawk's implicature.
McEvoy was challenging Helm's exegesis of the hawk poem: the tractor broke
down -- it's a 'clear implicature'.
However, according to Grice, to trace an implicature, you know to know more
about the 'utterer': in this case, Ted Huges. More below.
Edward ("Ted") James Ted Hughes, OM was a Welsh-English poet, ranked as one
of the best poets of his generation. He tends to be implicatural. Thus,
his "Birthday Letters" explores their complex relationship with his first
wife, but none of the letters addresses directly the circumstances of her
death, whereas according to Grice they should ("be as informative as is
Hughes was born at 1 Aspinall Street, in Mytholmroyd in the West Riding of
Yorkshire, to William Henry Hughes (a Welshman) and Edith Farrar.
Hughes was raised among the local farms of the Calder Valley and on the
Pennine moorland where the are a lot of hawks.
Hughes's father, a joiner, had enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers and
fought at Ypres.
Hughes's father narrowly escaped being killed when a bullet lodged in a pay
book in his breast pocket.
He was one of just 17 men of his regiment to return from the Dardanelles
Hughes loved hunting and fishing, and swimming.
He was always fascinated by wild animals.
He acted as retriever when his brother gamekeeper shot magpies, owls, rats
and curlews, growing up surrounded by the harsh realities of working farms
in the valleys and on the moors.
During his time in Mexborough he explored Manor Farm at Old Denaby, which
he said he would come to know better than any place on earth.
A friend at the time, John Wholly, took Hughes to the Crookhill estate
above Conisbrough where the boys spent great swathes of time.
Hughes became close to the family and learnt a lot about wildlife from
Wholly's father, a game keeper.
He came to view fishing as an almost religious experience.
Oddly, one of his mentors was John FISHER.
During his two years of National Service (1949–51) he said he had nothing
to do but watch the grass grow".
McEvoy should explore this from a Popperian point of view.
Strictly, you cannot watch the grass to grow for the simple reason that the
grass grows too slowly. McEvoy should argue that Hughes is "speaking
A Griceian would say that you CAN watch the grass to grow. Or at least that
it is not FALSE to say that the only thing Hughes did during his National
Service was "to watch the grass grow."
Perhaps it is a hyperbole in that we suppose the also went to the bahtroom
during those two long years.
In 1951, Hughes initially studied English at Pembroke under M.J.C. Hodgart.
When we say that Hughes 'studied English' we don't mean alla Plath (who was
an American, and where the implicature might be that she studied British
English). In Hughes's case, the implicature is that he attended the boring
tutorials by Hodgart.
Bored with Cambridge academia (remember Cambridge can be v. boring, unlike
Oxford), Hughes worked as a rose gardener and a nightwatchman.
He worked in a local zoo -- where he was in charge of the hawks cage --.
Plath typed up Hughes's manuscript which went on to win a poetry
competition run by The Young Women's Hebrew Association of New York, even
Hughes was not a young woman, nor Hebrew.
He later found he was being labelled as the poet of the wild, writing only
about animals, such as hawks.
In 1966, Hughes wrote poems to accompany Leonard Baskin's illustrations
of, not hawks, but the less interesting crows.
Cave Birds was published in 1975.
In August 1970 Hughes married Carol Orchard and they remained together
until his death.
He bought the house Lumb Bank near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
In October 1970 Crow was published.
Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate in December 1984, following Sir John
A collection of animal poems had been published by Faber earlier that year,
illustrated by R. J. Lloyd.
He featured in the 1994 documentary "Seven Crows A Secret" -- the
implicature being that seven crows ARE a secret but six or eigh ain't.
Hughes was appointed a member of the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II.
He was amused.
"The Hawk in the Rain" attracted considerable critical acclaim.
His most significant work is perhaps Crow (1970).
In addition to his own poetry, Hughes wrote a number of translations of
European plays, mainly classical ones. His Tales from Ovid (1997) contains a
selection of free verse translations from Ovid's Metamorphoses, especially
the fables where a human human is transfored into a non-human animal (but
never vice versa).
If Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate in 1984 following the death of John
Betjeman, it was later known that Hughes was second choice for the
appointment. Philip Larkin, the preferred nominee, had declined, because God
-- and he is not telling!
Hughes served in this prestigious position until his death.
In 1998 his Tales from Ovid won the Whitbread British Book of the Year
A poem discovered in October 2010, "Last letter", describes what happened
during the three days leading up to Plath's suicide. It was published in
New Statesman on National Poetry Day, October 2010.
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy told Channel 4 News:
i. Ted Hughes's pem, "Last Letter" is the darkest poem he has ever written.
When asked what she meant by 'dark,' the poet laureat said, "not clear,
She later admitted that her really implicature was that "Last Letter" was
"unbearable to read, by me, at any rate."
The journalist asked he how she found a poet dark if she felt it was
unbearable to read it, impicating that perhaps she never read it! (This
a chain of Letters to the Editors in THE TIMES).
Hughes's earlier poetic work is rooted in nature and, in particular, the
"innocent" savagery of animals (if that's a not a Darwinian oxyomoron), an
interest from an early age.
He wrote frequently of the mixture of beauty and violence in the natural
Animals serve as a metaphor for his view on life. (For a Griceian view of
metaphor see "You're the cream in my coffee +> You're my pride and hoy, or
ironically, You're my bane).
Animals live out a struggle for the survival of the fittest in the same way
that humans strive for ascendancy and success. Examples can be seen in the
poems like "Hawk Roosting".
The West Riding dialect of Hughes's childhood remained a staple of his
poetry, his lexicon lending a texture that is concrete, terse, emphatic,
economical yet powerful.
The manner of speech renders the hard facts of things and wards off
A Ted Hughes Festival is held each year in Mytholmroyd, led by the Elmet
In 2010 it was announced that Hughes would be commemorated with a memorial
in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey -- along with Sir Noel Coward, etc.
In 2008, The British Library acquired a large collection comprising over
220 files containing manuscripts, letters, journals, personal diaries,
correspondence, and some erotic drawings.
The library archive is accessible through the British Library website
(except for the erotic drawings -- with the British Library judges as "bad in
On 16 November 2013 Hughes's former hometown of Mexborough held a special
performance trail, as part of its "Right Up Our Street" project, celebrating
the writer's connection with the town of Mexborough.
The free event included a two-hour ramble through Mexborough following the
route of Hughes's paper round.
Participants visited some of the important locations which influenced the
poet, with the trail beginning at Hughes' former home.
So now you know ("unless you already did know," as Geary expands).
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