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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 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November - December 1983.

News & Notes
On 19 July the Dublin-born painter PATRICK SWIFT died at his home in Portugal. He was 56. Among his closest friends-and the subjects of his best portraits-were a number of poets of his generation, and he was a familiar figure in the post-War 'Fitzrovia' circles that included David Wright, George Barker, Patrick Kavanagh and others. In 1959 he founded the magazine X with David Wright. Through X, Swift did for some of his younger contemporaries what David Wright was doing for the poets. He presented their work and attacked the fashions that stood in the way of a proper appreciation and valuation of the figurative work of some of them. In 1962 Swift left England for the Algarve. As well as collaborating in the establishment of Porches Pottery, he wrote books and continued his design work and painting. In his partnership with David Wright, this exemplary artist contributed substantially to the world of poetry.

MIRON BIAŁOSZEWSKI, who died in June, was a survivor of the generation of Polish writers born in the early 1920s; a lay ascetic, who meditated under Carmel, the quilt left by Steffie, burnt in the ghetto. As well as his poems, stripped down from his early 'Merry-go-round with Madonnas' to the self-effacing Mirony of his later word-play, and his personal theatre-gallery on the wardrobe, props from the kitchen-he struck more readers in 1970 with A Diary of the Warsaw Rising, a war book with no enemies, no weapons, only a childlike innocence and the spiritual exercise of taking the next step to stay alive. The more recent prose pieces, Informing on Reality, move further towards unliterary speech. At his funeral the Franciscan poet Fr Jan Twardowski quoted his anticartesian self-portrait: 'Of all the faces I've known,/I least remember my own/ . . ./no me,/no doubt.' (Kris Long)

BRIAN PATTEN-the BBC radio producer, not the poet with whom he was often (to his amusement) confused-died on 15 July after a heart attack at the age of 57. Among his other distinctions he had, a particular gift for presenting poetry in popular and accessible forms, whether as a component of 'With Great Pleasure', or as the staple of 'Poetry Please', the Radio 4 request programme. While never ceasing to regard himself as a light entertainment man who had strayed accidentally onto Parnassus, his editorial tact and his native good taste were appreciated by the many poets who came under his direction. (FS)

On 22 June the poetry editor and publisher TAMBIMUTTU died in London. David Gascoyne writes an appreciation of him in the 'Reports' pages of this issue of PNR.

The French National Library acquired two archival items of great importance in the month of July. Four of Proust's notebooks and drafts, including inédits of A la recherche were purchased and promise to complicate further the textual tangle of that in every sense inexhaustible masterpiece. An anonymous benefactor gave the National Library for its collection of manuscripts the autographs of Raymond Radiguet's novels Le Diable au corps and La Bal du comte d'Orgel.

The POETRY LIBRARY of the Arts Council has made the return journey now from Covent Garden. It is back at 105 Piccadilly, and welcomed home to a much larger room than it had when it left. The 22,000 volume collection of poetry written in English or in English translation since 1914 is a sizeable burden to move. Jonathan Barker, the Librarian, was in charge of the move out. He counted them all back, as well. This is the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Library in 1953. Its very first home was at the National Book League in Albemarle Street.

The Library's policy is to buy two copies of each new publication. One is kept for reference, the other is available for loan. The library also keeps most of the current poetry and related journals and is a centre of information for the researcher, bibliophile and poet. Philip Larkin has apostrophised the Library as 'one of the occasional pure flowerings of imagination for which the English are so seldom given credit.' The library is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, with late opening until 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

Le Monde pestered a number of French writers during the Summer on the subject of 'Gloire': what did it mean to each of them? The astonishing thing is that the writers answered, and some of them with great earnestness. The briefest answer, and the most poetically sage, came from Edmond Jabès, who said: 'The expression la gloire is a matter for military folk. It's assessed by the number of battles won and foes slain. The writer works in the shadow of a book. He has accounts to render only to himself; that is why, for him, la gloire is a star which twinkles in the heart of a night which he does not inhabit.'

German literary prizes in the first half of 1983-writes Michael Hulse-have gone to deserving recipients. Two veteran lyric poets, Karl Krolow and Erich Fried, were awarded the Hessischer Literaturpreis and Bremer Literaturpreis respectively. Three women were accorded merited recognition: prose writer Leonie Ossowski (born in 1925) received Mannheim's Schillerpreis, which has previously been awarded to Golo Mann, Peter Handke and Dürrenmatt, among others; poet Hilde Domin (born in 1912) has been announced as this year's recipient of Dortmund's Nelly-Sachs-Preis, awarded for the furthering of tolerance among the peoples of the earth (the award will be made in December); and Sarah Kirsch has received Bad Gandersheim's Roswitha-Gedenkmedaille which commemorates the first German woman poet known to us by name. Dramatist Tankred Dorst has been given the 1983 Literaturpreis of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Art in Munich. Two Swiss writers, Hermann Burger and Gerhard Meier, have received this year's Hölderlin-Preis and Petrarca-Preis respectively. All of these awards carry a cash prize between DM 10,000 and 30,000. Last-but far from least Wolfdietrich Schnurre (born in 1920), the novelist and critic whose literary activity goes back to Gruppe 47 days, is to receive this year's Büchner prize.

While it is the norm to accept these awards, occasionally a writer refuses. This happened earlier this year when Gertrud Fussenegger (born in 1912) declined to accept the Konrad-Adenauer-Preis of the Deutschlandstiftung on the grounds that she felt she represented a position too far removed from the radical conservatism of the foundation. Gertrud Fussenegger is best known for Das Haus der dunklen Krüge, Das verschüttete Antlitz and Zeit des Raben-Zeit der Taube.

It's ten years since the great Algerian French-language poet JEAN SENAC was murdered in Algiers in circumstances which have still to be explained. A large part of the poet's archive is in Marseilles, a city he especially liked, and from 22 to 24 September there will be meetings and exhibitions there which take Senac as their point of reference but will include his followers and the wider theme 'La poésie au Sud'. Among those who will be participating in the events are the Moro-can poet Tahar Ben Jelloun, the Algerians Jamal-Eddine Bencheikh and Rabah Belamri, and Fr Jean Déjeux, an expert in the francophone literatures of North Africa. The exhibition will be held in the Palace of Napoleon III where the municipal archive is housed. One aspect of the exhibition will be the paintings by Senac's contemporaries and friends.

There will be publishing activity as well: three editors (including Camus's first editor, Edmond Chariot) have brought together in book form important previously-uncollected work-mainly the poems of the 1970s and the intimate journals of the 1940s and 1950s. Further information from Archives communales, 1 place Carli, Marseilles.

The Welsh Arts Council is increasing the budget for annual prizes to Welsh writers from £3000 a year to £10,000 a year and has defined the categories more specifically than before: Fiction Prize, Non-Fiction Prize, Poetry Prize, Literary Criticism Prize and Young Writer's Prize. Is this the first prize for literary criticism as such to be awarded by an Arts Council? Specific critical (but more usually editorial) projects have been funded in the past, but not, to my knowledge, Literary Criticism as a category. Look to Cardiff, Harold Bloom! Your battle is won there at least! The Welsh Arts Council is keen, no doubt, to encourage the development of a critical literature devoted specifically to Welsh and Anglo-Welsh writing. If this is the intention of the award, it should have been spelled out in the small print. Certainly the Welsh Arts Council is putting energy and imagination (as it always has done under Meic Stephens's direction) into supporting writers as well as publishing. In the last year, the grant-aid to writers has risen from £28,000 to £60,000, most of this paid out in bursaries. For further information, contact Tony Bianchi, Literature Officer, Welsh Arts Council.

Some time ago we reported a rumour that a local Arts Association had plans to put a poet in a supermarket. It can now be confirmed that this was more than a rumour: a Volkswagen has been appointed resident poet in a supermarket car-park. This, at least, is what seems to be implied in a Press Release from the Eastern Arts Association. The Volkswagen will in fact be the Versewagon driven by three poets, one of them familiar to regular readers of PNR as Ian McMillan. The excellent Versewagon project has been on the road for some time, in its native Yorkshire and elsewhere. It is more accustomed to villages, schools, community centres and the like. When the Eastern Arts Association Literature Officer Laurence Staig read the leaked report in PNR 31, he wrote justifying the project in these terms: 'For a start, everybody goes into a supermarket at some time or other whereas people that frequent libraries and bookshops are a highly selected cross-section of our society, specially bred to borrow or buy. They have made up their minds already. Wouldn't it be nice if Fred Bloggs, whilst reaching for a jumbo pack of dog biscuits, also takes a fancy to a recent poetry publication, having already been seduced by amiable conversation and curiosity by a writer in residence situated between the frankfurters and the golden lay eggs?' I think the decision to place the poets in the car park was probably a good one: Fred Bloggs will, at least, be able to make a quick getaway if he wants to (unless the Versewagon is parked across the exit, which may be part of the scheme). In a later letter Laurence Staig revealed future plans: 'I am also thinking of placing a writer in residence on a bus. Ideally the Circle Line of the London underground would be better and I hope to contact my counterpart in GLAA shortly.'

This item is taken from PN Review 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November - December 1983.

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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