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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 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.

News & Notes
The MENARD PRESS celebrates 25 years of publishing. On 3 April at the Conway Hall, London, this feat of commitment and survival was celebrated. Guests of honour were Brian Coffey and F.T. Prince. But Anthony Rudolf, the founder, poet, eccentric, enthusiast, polemidst, was justly honoured, commanding as he does the devotion of serious writers and readers. Four new books were launched to mark the occasion, including Sylvia Plath's uncollected versions of Ronsard. The list is available from Menard Press, 8 The Oaks, Woodside Avenue, London N12 8AR.

PN Review 103 is likely to reach readers just after C.C.C.P.5 (the Fifth Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry), which runs at King's College from 28-30 April. If there is time, bookings and further information are available from Ian Patterson, Box 940 King's College, Cambridge CB2 1ST (phone 01223 327455).

PNR received the ZIMBABWEAN REVIEW, a handsomely designed quarterly in tabloid format which declares itself 'the first of its kind: an intelligent, iconoclastic review of the arts, written by and for Zimbabweans and their friends'. Editor Carole Pearce, defining the context in her editorial, sees ZR as 'a complex network of hopes' in a largely authoritarian society where dialogue has not thrived in the past. By acknowledging differences and avoiding stock responses, she believes dialogue and definition will emerge. Poetry does not at this stage feature large on the agenda, but among the contributors are Charles Mungoshi and Musa Zimunya. The issue PNR received is much more than promising: it is illuminating to be given access of a direct kind to a diverse, unsettled culture coming to critical terms with itself, 'clearing the ground for new ideas to flourish'. At £20 per annum it is probably a useful investment. Further details are available from The Zimbabwean Review, 3 Donaldson Lane, P/Bag A 6177, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe.

The 1995 Bollingen Prize in Poetry was awarded to kenneth koch. His books One Train and On the Great Atlantic Railway: Selected Poems 1950-1988 have just been published by Knopf, New York.

PAUL MULDOON received the 1994 T.S.> Eiliot Award for The Annals of Chile (Faber).

GEORGE WOODCOCK died in January at the age of 83. Best known in Britain for his 1962 book Anarchism (Penguin), he was a poet in his own right, an important scholar, critic and editor, with 150 books to his credit. He spent his formative years in Britain where he was a friend of George Orwell, Herbert Read and Julian Symons, to whose Twentieth Century Verse he contributed. Symons's magazine perished with the war, but Woodcock's Now took its place and used many of its contributors. As his achievements are celebrated in Canada, it is proper to remember that he made a direct contribution to writing on this side of the water and was assiduous in maintaining transatlantic connections. His creative, humane anarchism led Julian Symons, shortly before his death last year, to write: 'I know of nobody who has been of more generous help to others, or has pursued good ends in the life more unswervingly.' Professor Trevor Tolley's book The Poetry of the Forties (Manchester University Press) includes valuable matter on Woodeock in his place in poetry.

JAMES MERRILL died in February at the age of 69. An American poet whose voluminous work has been hard to come by in Britain for many years, he assembled shortly before his death a substantial Selected which will appear in 1996 and go some way towards justifying the claims made for him in this issue of PN Review by Justin Quinn - claims made for many years by American poets and critics who admire the freedoms he achieved within and through his distinctive development of formal poetry, the Jamesian richness and complexity of his syntax and themes.

Italian poet FRANCO FORTINI died in November 1994. He was 77. Of Jewish and Catholic parents, he was born in Florence. He joined the Protestant Valdesian church, served in the Italian army until Italy capitulated, then sought refuge in Switzerland, returning as a Partisan in 1944. His experiences taught him that poetry does not offer an alternative to engagement with sodety and politics but a unique form of engagement, though after the invasion of Hungary he gave up party affiliations. He worked as a journalist, editorial consultant and translator (of Milton, Marvell, Eluard, Proust, Goethe, Kafka, Brecht, etc), becoming a professor in Siena though he was not university educated. Paul Lawton's award-winning versions of his work appeared as Summer Is Not All: Selected Poems in 1992. 'Florence gave me my mother. tongue,' he wrote, 'enriched with eight unbroken centuries of high literature. Every word is a quotation. I do not possess the refuge of a dialect and so I use the "sublime language" of the past…' Mandelstam claimed that classical poetry was the poetry of revolution, a view he subscribed to 'even if there is no revolution in sight'.

In December 1994 editor, teacher and poet ERIC MOTTRAM died. He was 70. He became most visible during his controversial editorship of Poetry Review (1972-77), five years in which that magazine was a showcase for experimental and avant garde work and drew hostile criticism from predictable quarters (including PN Review). Mottram's half decade at PR has the aspect of a dawn which only half broke in Britain. He believed in forging two-way connections with the formally radical American poets (his teaching was devoted to the same objectives), and he was as harsh as an editor and poet needs to be about the Little Englandism which still disfigures our literary environment and diminishes judgment. Infected at times by a polemical exuberance born of a mix of enthusiasm and a disappointment with readers, he exacerbated rather than resolved the polarities in English poetry, yet he opened many individual readers' ears to writers who helped them see literature afresh. His own poems fall short of his intentions, but by critical and editorial activity he influenced the experimental fringes of British writing in lasting ways.

In January the popular French poet JEAN TARDIEU (who described himself as 'a pessimist, but in good health') died in his 92nd year. The world of his imagination is like a hybrid of Dubuffet, Alberti and Stevie Smith, even if assodation with Perce and Queneau give a somewhat systematic feel to the liberties he takes. He worked closely with artists and musidans and his eventual biography will be a fasinating history of the French cultural milieux of this century.

MIGUEL TORGA, one of the great novelists and memoirists of moderm Portugal (his The Creation of the World evokes the remote Trasos-Montes region of Portugal where he grew up in poverty), and a poet as well, died in January at 88. A selection of his prose work is at last to be published in Britain in the From the Portuguese series. James Kirkup's Independent obituary quotes Torga: 'The universal is the local without walls'. For him writing was removing the walls that make memory private, a sharing and witnessing to a world that did not have a voice until this century.

This item is taken from PN Review 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.



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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