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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This item is taken from PN Review 73, Volume 16 Number 5, May - June 1990.

News & Notes
Jack Lindsay, (1900 - 1990) set out to conquer 'all the problems of culture'. The protean energy with which he tackled this task will make it hard to assess his achievement. At university in his native Australia his reputation was as a Classicist, but there followed a torrent of works including novels and short stories, verse plays, translations, film scripts, literary and art criticism and excursions into philosophy, science and archaeology. Charles Hobday, in his biography of Edgell Rickword numbers 150 books published by Lindsay between 1923 and 1981, a happy industry which also stretched to the editorship of some four magazines and the establishment of the fanfrolico press. Like Rickword, Lindsay experienced a Marxist epiphany in the early 1930's. Characteristically this came via diverse study of 'poetry, historical novels, Freud, anthropology' in the wilds of the West Country.

A devotion to principles over ephemeral questions of leadership enabled him to remain a member of the Communist Party through Stalinism and the suppression of the Hungarian rising of 1956. It was during this period that a review of his Byzantium into Europe in the Times Literary Supplement advocated the exclusion of Communists from the history departments of British universities. But Lindsay survived to become a kind of institution. An 80th birthday tribute, A Garland for Jack Lindsay, featured contributions from a later generation of writers - Alan Sillitoe, Roy Fuller, Doris Lessing, David Holbrook, Jack Beeching.

Jonathan Griffin, the poet, dramatist and translator died in January at the age of 83. His was the kind of literary career which can be faulted only in its historical timing. The Hidden King, an ambitious verse drama based on the life of a sixteenth century Portuguese monarch, was presented at the 1957 Edinburgh Festival - just one year after the first production of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger. Despite a negative reception, Griffin's play may have survived the era of the kitchen sink better than some more auspiciously launched rivals, particularly in America where his Collected Poems were finally published in two big volumes by the Poetry Foundation at the University of Maine last year.

Born in Worthing in 1906, Griffin devoted much of his early creative energy to music, befriending Schnabel and Dolmetsch and giving the first performance of Berg's piano sonata. His eventual defection to literature, after a number of books on military and political subjects, began as a recognition of his own musical limitations but increasingly looked like a discovery of vocation. Nevertheless he retained a catholic approach, reflected both in the range of his acquaintance - Pierre Boulez, Picasso, Braque, Bertrand Russell - and in the diversity of material on which he chose to exercise his skills as a translator, from Pessoa to Charles de Gaulle. The same breadth is apparent in his own work; George Oppen found a light and space in his verse absent from mainstream English poetry.

In August 1989 the distinguished American novelist and poet, Janet Lewis, celebrated her ninetieth birthday. Lewis still lives in the same house - near Palo Alto in northern California - that she bought with her late husband, Yvor Winters, in 1928. She has not published any fiction for many years but still writes poetry and the occasional opera libretto. A chapbook of new poems, Late Offerinqs, was published in 1988 by Robert L.Barth, 14 Lucas Street, Florence, Kentucky 41042.

A double issue of the magazine Numbers will include a celebration of Janet Lewis's birthday. Numbers 6/7 will be appearing later than usual, early in the New Year. It will include new work by Lewis - seven poems and a memoir - together with reprints; two short stories, extracts from her novel The Invasion (1932), and some translations of tanka poems by Japanese Americans. Essays by Donald Davie, Thom Gunn and Timothy Steele pay tribute to the life and work. Numbers 6/7 will also include new poems by thirteen poets, including Dick Davis, Lauris Edmond, Bill Manhire, Vikram Seth and Ken Smith.

The three most important West German literary awards all went to safe candidates in 1989. The Büchner Prize was given to Botho Strauss, whose plays continue to be among the most frequently performed on the German stage and whose most recent work of fiction is Kongress (Matthes & Seitz). The recipient of Dusseldorf's Heine Prize was Max Frisch, who at 78 has recently stirred up controversy at home in Switzerland by arguing that the Swiss army should be abolished. Frisch declared he would use the award money of DM 25,000 to finance a poster campaign in this cause. In Cologne, the Heinrich Böll Prize (first awarded in 1980) went to Brigitte Kronauer, principally for two novels published during the 80s by Klett Cotta, Rita Münster and Berittener Bogenschütze. Previous winners of the Heinrich Böll Prize have included Peter Weiss (1981), Hans Magnus Enzensberger (1985), Elfriede Jelinek (1986) and Dieter Wellershoff (1988).

D.J.Enright was 70 in March. To mark the occasion Oxford published two books; Selected Poems 1990 and Life by Other Means: Essays on D.J.Enright (with 21 contributors including Patricia Beer, Peter Porter and Donald Davie). Carcanet celebrated the event with the reissue of his controversial Memoirs of a Mendicant Professor, previously banned in Singapore, together with a new afterword.

Mikoslav Holub one of Czechoslovkia's leading scientists, whom Ted Hughes has called 'one of the half-dozen most important poets writing anywhere' is known for The Immunology of Nude Mice, as well as his popular newspaper columns. He will be visiting The Brighton Festival in May as part of a celebration of Czech culture. The itinerary will include a Paul Hamlyn reading in Brighton on 18 May and readings will be also be held in Tenby (12 May), Manchester (16 May) and Sheffield (19 May). The visit coincides with the publication of Poems Before and After: Collected English Translations, by Bloodaxe. A second book from Bloodaxe, The Jingle Bell Principle, subtitled , Notes and Objections, Maximum Length 43 Lines, is scheduled for the end of this year. Faber are issuing Holub's The Dimension of the Present Moment, A Book of Essays and the aptly entitled Vanishing Lung Syndrome, his latest collection of poems, at the end of April.

This year sees the 20th anniversary of Chapman which begins the new decade with its biggest issue to date. Dismissing claims of Scottish insularity, editor Joy Hendry is still able to celebrate the success of Jim Kelman without being falsely familiar. This may be one of the reasons for the magazine's longevity; it occupies a naturally central position (back numbers 'read like a Who's Who of Scottish literature' says Hendry)but generally steers clear of cultural introversion and controversy. In keeping with this tradition Chapman 59 includes a special feature on the poet Kenneth White, now living in France - the old alliance - and new verse from Andrew Greig, Derick Thomson, Joy Pitman and Tom Pow. To enhance the sense of occasion there is a tercentenary salute to the National Library of Scotland. Copies are available from 80 Moray Street, Blackford, Perthshire PH4 1QF, price £1.75.

The University of Essex has just issued Assemblage. a showcase anthology featuring the work of writers who are or have been involved with the Department of Literature. The subtitle New International Writing points to a second entrance qualification - contributions should be new, or at least previously unpublished. Accordingly poems by Ted Berrigan, Michael Hamburger and Donald Davie and translations by Robert Lowell are printed for the first time. Also included are Elaine Feinstein, Rose Tremain, Douglas Oliver and Jeremy Reed. The book is available at £5.50 from University of Essex, Department of Literature, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ.

The Fourteenth International Ezra Pound Conference will take place next year in the Italian Tirol from 3-5 July 1991. Entitled Ezra Pound and Europe, it will include an extensive exhibition, excursions to Venice, and possibly Verona, as well as a celebration of the Glorious Fourth. A wide range of accomodation is available, but fixed reservations need to be made a year in advance due to the demands of the tourist trade. Further details are available from the organiser, Richard Taylor, LS Anglistik, Postfach 101251, 8580 Bayreuth, West Germany.

The tutors of this year's Creative Writing Course at Higham Hall in Cumbria (July 22-28) are to be D.M. Thomas and Wendy Cope. Both poets stress the importance of group writing games, although there will also be private sessions designed to help students discover or develop a personal voice. Further details are available from Higham Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9SH.

Statements: The new Chinese poetry of Duoduo, translated by Gregory Lee and John Cayley, will be published this year as the second volume in the Wellsweep Chinese Poets series. The book, which takes as its principal reference points Tiananmem Square and London - the poet travelled from one to the other on the 4th and 5th of June last year - contains eleven poems which were not included in the earlier Bloomsbury edition Looking Out From Death. Part of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the June 4th China Support Fund. Wellsweep's back-catalogue now includes wine flying, magnificently summarized as 'A non-linear exploration of a traditional Chinese quatrain'. This is an intriguing graphic adaptation of Qian Qi's Written in the Alpine Pavilion of Cui the Recluse, translated and arranged by John Cayley.

This item is taken from PN Review 73, Volume 16 Number 5, May - June 1990.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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