The following passage is from a letter written by Ted Hughes to Bishop Ross Hook, 10 November 1982:
“Poets would like to feel their talent is some sort of bonus—like physical strength, or swiftness, or even an aptitude for mathematics. I submit that it is very likely something quite different. I think we get a closer description of the way it has always operated if we regard it as nothing more than a facility for expressing that complicated process in which we locate, and attempt to heal, affliction—whether our own or that of others whose feeling we can share. The inmost spirit of poetry, in other words, is at bottom, in every recorded case, the voice of pain—and the physical body, so to speak, of poetry, is the treatment by which the poet tries to reconcile that pain with the world.”
—From The Letters of Ted Hughes, p. 458.