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This item is taken from PN Review 107, Volume 22 Number 3, January - February 1996.

News & Notes
The young German poet DURS GRÜNBEIN, was awarded the 1995 Büchner Prize, a controversial decision but on balance a welcome one. Grünbein, who has read to a large public at the South Bank, is a demanding and original writer. His work is most readily accessible to English readers in the Exact Change Yearbook: as yet no book length collection of his poetry has appeared in English.

verso, which describes itself as 'the largest radical publisher in the English-speaking world' and which many would describe as the best, with a consistent and challenging list, celebrates its 25th anniversary with an outstanding new catalogue. Founded as the 'publishing arm' of the journal New Left Review, it has been an international list which has made important discoveries, and recoveries, abroad and at home. It rightly won the Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year Award. Its catalogue, readable, without hype, and beautifully designed, is available from 6 Meard Street, London WIV 3HR.

The NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY celebrates its centennial with a year-long exhibition 'featuring poetry in a vivid and intimate form: drafts written by the poets themselves'. The famous Berg Collection is drawn upon for two exhibitions, the first running from Donne (three manuscript 'Holy Sonnets') to Eliot (the great Waste Land typescript with Pound's corrections), the second from cummings to Julia Alvarez. The first exhibition will be displayed in the Berg Exhibition Room (Room 318) on the third floor of the Library and will run through 20 April. It is virtually an unprecedented privilege for lovers of poetry to have access to so many outstanding literary manuscripts, British and American.

The novelist and poet KINGSLEY AMIS died in London in October. He was 73. Twenty-one years ago he contributed 'Festival Notebook' to the second issue of Poetry Nation: 'CLOSING SCENES of the Salisbury festival:/Haydn and Mozart in St Edmund's Church,/A building soon to be deconsecrated/Because irrelevant to civic needs/And turned into a meaningful hotel./ Involuntarily the mind throws up/Fancies of Japanese, back from Stonehenge, Quaffing keg bitter by the pulpit stair,/Swedes booking coach-tours in the chance.' Regarded by some as a writer 'who becomes popular by reflecting back people's prejudices' - Joan Smith referring here in particular to his 'attitudes about class and women' - others who enjoy the novels for their quality of writing and construction, and the poems for their often bitter candour, hold him dear even if they feel he had it in him to have become a writer on a larger scale than he did.

The poet GAVIN EWART died in London the day after Kingsley Amis. He was 79. A not infrequent contributor to PN ReView, in this issue we publish two of his late poems, sent in a month before his final illness. 'Sir John Betjeman as a Lightly Fruited Scone' contains lines which might stand as his own epitaph: 'Philistines thought all his verse was cheery, like a Greeting Card./He was darker than they thought him - though he was a Bourgeois Bard.'

The editor MIRON GRINDEA (Mondi Miron Grünberg), born in Moldavia in 1909, died in London in November. In the mid-1930s he became editor of Adam Intemational Review, and when a few days before the War he arrived in Britain, he brought it with him. The magazine - in French and English - reflected its editor's internationalism, his eclecticism and generosity. Being an editor was his mode of creativity, and Adam's survival - he claimed that it ran for 50 years and 500 issues - is testament to the force of his vocation. Its uneven quality in editorial and production terms is evidence of his 'variable voltage'. It would be wrong to see him as in the mighty line of Karl Kraus or Charles Péguy, whose mission was not merely literary; who had unerring historical and philosophical instincts and whose roots were firmly in one place. There is no consistency about Adam: its chief virtue was its survival. But Grindea's single-mindedness, energy and editorial hubris were not unlike those of his greater predecessors.

The major Finnish poet EEVA-LIISA MANNER died earlier this year. Herbert Lomas's translations of her verse were among his best, quoted in Books from Finland: 'Spring dangled its green swings on the tree,/the nightingale -shy, lurking bird -/tuned its song in secret, tak, jug-jug, err,/dk, dk, dk, like a nutshell/tapped in the deep twilight.'

HUBERT JACQUES died in his native Namur in March 1995, Yann Lovelock reports. One of his grandfathers was the Walloon dramatist Charles Dombret, under whose influence he took up writing in dialect and won a short story prize while still a student. Other stories followed, as well as his award-winning collection of poetry. From 1936 he belonged to Lés Rél&icap;s Namurwés, one of the influential associations of dialect writers in Belgium, and it is in connection with his work on their behalf that he will be best remembered. In 1947 became editor of their monthly magazine Les Cahiers Wallons (whose appearance the war had intermitted) and in 1953 initiated the policy of turning some issues over to the single-author collections. In 1960 he was elected secretary and archivist of his association, a post he held until 1989, at some cost to his own original work.
Index on Censorship celebrates one of its founders and champions, SIR STEPHEN SPENDER, in issue 5/1995, with tributes and celebrations by Lady Natasha Spender, the poet's widow, by Isaiah Berlin, David Hockney (a pen portrait - remote from the famous Wyndham Lewis likeness), Stuart Hampshire and Michael Scammell. The issue also includes a penetrating series of appraisals of the United Nations, its successes and failures.

This item is taken from PN Review 107, Volume 22 Number 3, January - February 1996.



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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