Birthday Letters is Ted Hughes' final collection of poetry. It was published in 1998, months prior to Hughes' death. It contains eighty eight poems and is viewed as the poet's most successful and revered work. It is 208 pages long.
Birthday Letters is considered amongst many as a response to the suicide of Hughes' wife, Sylvia Plath, detailing their tumultous marriage prior to her death. Upon release, the collection was met with intrigue from readers eager for a candid look into the private lives of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, whose marriage was kept inexplicably private.
The collection was met with resounding acclaim, receiving the Forward Poetry Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, and the Whitebread Poetry and Whitebread British Book of the Year Prizes. It is regarded as Hughes' resounding legacy in the literary world for its honest depictions of pain, loss, and suffering. It is one of the highest selling poetry titles of all time, selling over half a million copies.