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This item is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

News & Notes
DAVID GASCOYNE died on 25 November 2001, at the age of 85. Gascoyne, who was Britain's pioneering surrealist poet, famously rescued Salvador Dali at the international surrealist exhibition in 1936 when the painter turned up in a deep sea diving outfit but, having forgotten to bring an air tank, found he could not escape from his costume when he started to suffocate. Gascoyne's first collection of poems, Roman Balcony, was published in 1932 when he was still at school. A Short Survey of Surrealism appeared in 1935, but it was Hölderlin's Madness (1938) and Poems 1937-42 (1942) that first brought him international acclaim. His poems tend to explore a fractured sense of self or reality, and can be extremely expressive and unsettling, though they are also often difficult. Gascoyne lived in France from 1937 to 1939, where he became friendly with a number of well-known writers, painters and surrealists, including Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller and Picasso. He suffered a severe nervous breakdown in the 1960s, and could not write at all for several years, but began to publish again in 1978, when his first volume of collected journals came out from Enitharmon Press. A new Collected Poems appeared from OUP in 1988, and in 1996 the French Ministry of Culture made him a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres for his lifelong services to Literature. His wife, Judy, survives him.

Lectures at the Poetry Society this season will be formatted on a 'Poets on Poets' basis. The talks, which will allow five prominent poets to discuss a major poet who has influenced them, include Elaine Feinstein on Anna Akhmatova (10 January); C.L. Dallat on W.B. Yeats (14 February); David Constantine on Robert Graves (14 March), Peter Forbes on Louis MacNeice (11 April) and Jo Shapcott on Rilke (9 May). Lectures begin at 6.30pm and tickets are £8 (£6 concessions). 'Masterclasses', which run from January until June, will be given by C.K. Williams, U.A. Fanthorpe, James Fenton and Ruth Padel. Contact the Poetry School on +44 (0) 20 8 223 0401 for more information.

The South African poet R.N.CURREY, who died on 18 November 2001 aged 93, established his reputation with his second collection, This Other Planet (1945), written during his war service in India. T.S. Eliot termed the collection 'the best war poetry ... that I have seen in these past six years'. Currey's major themes were alienation and exile and his best-known work includes The Africa We Knew (1973) and the verse play Between Two Worlds. In 1959 he was a joint winner of the South Africa Poetry Prize. His Collected Poems was published in 2000.

Bloodaxe poet PAMELA GILLILAN has died at the age of 82. Gillilan, who for many years kept her age a secret, wrote poetry as a young woman, but gave up when she married. She did not publish a collection until she was in her sixties, when she began to write about her husband's death. In 1979, she won the Daily Telegraph/Cheltenham Festival poetry competition and her first collection, That Winter, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Poetry prize in 1986. New and Selected Poems appeared from Bloodaxe in 1994, and was followed by The Rashomon Syndrome in 1998. She died in Bristol on 26 October 2001.

TalkPoetry, a new website for poetry news and publications, was launched in December 2001. The website features classic Canto recordings now reissued on CD of leading contemporary poets, including Elizabeth Jennings, C.H. Sisson, Edwin Morgan and Gillian Clarke, reading and discussing their work with Michael Schmidt and others. Many new titles are still to come. CDs and a huge range of books at discount prices can be bought through the online Canto bookshop. TalkPoetry also includes a daily poem, a monthly listing of new poetry publications and a growing archive of minibiocrits, called 'Brief Lives'. Forthcoming features will include an online 'Book Finder' service for out-of-print and second-hand books. The site can be viewed at:

Stand Magazine is to be relaunched this month, under the editorship of Jon Glover. The first issue of the magazine, which has been reformatted, will include new poems by Ken Smith, Rodney Pybus and Fergus Allen. For more information, contact the Stand office at School of English, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, +44 (0) 113 233 4794. The magazine can also be contacted by email at:

Rumour has it that the Booker prize could soon be rechristened. Booker's administrators have insisted that they will resist any change of name, but from 2002, Iceland will no longer sponsor the event. Several major companies are vying to take over its role, and some of their proposals stipulate that company names should be included in the competition's title.

Issue 54 of AGNI, which was launched in Boston on 20 November 2001, focuses on Amnesty International's fortieth anniversary. The magazine includes Michael Scammel on Arthur Koestler, Anthony Arnove on Iraq, Marguerite Feitlowitz on 'Argentina's Dirty War' and Joshua Rubenstein on Gustaw Herling of Poland. The issue weighs in at 374 pages and a 1958 interview with Nabokov is also included. Le Magazine litteraire, one of France's most influential literary magazines, celebrated its 109th anniversary this year. The magazine, which has consistently published outstanding articles about modern writing, has always displayed sound independent judgement when reviewing poetry, often passing over big names in favour of interesting but lesser-known authors. Recent issues of the magazine and a selection of some of its strongest reviews can now be accessed online at The text can be automatically translated on request.

This item is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

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