In Memory of Keith Sagar

Usha VT just sent in the following

shell on sand

The following contribution was sent in in memory of Keith Sagar, 1934–2013.



I met Keith Sagar in the 1980s at Trivandrum when he visited India for a series of lectures. He was struggling to speak on account of a bad cold, but nevertheless took pains to spend time with me discussing Ted Hughes the poet and the person. I was able to get information and perceptions to the poet that I would, at that time, never have been able to access anywhere in India. His scholarly perceptions enriched my thesis. I still cherish the copy of Selected Poems of Ted Hughes that he gifted to me at the time with his signature.

Years later, I was fortunate to be at the same forum with Professor Keith Sagar at Cambridge for the Ted Hughes seminar “From Cambridge to Collected”. It was indeed a privilege for me to be able to be there, thanks to Prof Terry Gifford, who was instrumental in inviting me there.

I had access to his writings and used them extensively for my research on the poetry of Ted Hughes. Like him, I had been resistant to theory in my early work. His influence is quite visible there.

After the meeting and following the discussions, he offered to escort Murali and me on a tour of Cambridge. He took us around on foot, sharing his fond memories and showing us places of historical and personal importance. It was indeed an amazing experience. I can still visualize the sunlit lawns of Kings college, the sparkling waters of the River Cam, with the weeping willows overhanging and the green lawns along with the glowing eyes of the Professor as he travelled back and forth in time. We were also time travelers then.

To me, his passing represents the passing of a generation of genuine scholarship. My salutations to the master!

Please convey my heartfelt condolence to Melissa and his bereaved family members.

Pondicherry University, India



Note: If you feel like posting your memories of Keith here, please let me know.

You can read several of Keith's essays and a poem in memory of Ted on this site. His own website,, to which he added several essays just weeks ago contains much more material. He was also author of many critical publications – just do a search of the Criticism section here, for a list of most of them.