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This item is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

News & Notes
NISSIM EZEKIEL, the great post-Independence Indian poet, died on 9 January 2004 at the age of 79. A member of the ancient Marathi-speaking Jewish community of Mumbai (Bombay), Ezekiel grew up with a love of Eliot, Yeats, Pound and Rilke, and his central contribution to the Indian poetic tradition was to create a new kind of poetic voice, both vitally Indian and Modernist, from Indian vernacular and the language of colonisation. Ezekiel studied at both Mumbai University and Birkbeck College, London. His first collection, Time to Change, was published in 1952. After his return to India he worked in journalism and broadcasting. He co-founded the literary magazine Imprint in 1961. Nissim Ezekiel continued to publish his own poetry throughout his life, while pursuing an eminent career teaching in Mumbai, translating, broadcasting and editing, acting as mentor to a younger generation of poets, and appointments as visiting professor at Leeds and Chicago universities. He was awarded the Padma-Shri, India's highest civilian honour, in 1988.

CID CORMAN, poet, editor and translator (notably from the Japanese), best known in Britain for his creative friendship with Charles Olson, whose Letters to Origin, Corman's celebrated irregular magazine founded in 1951, are full of pithy advice and creative risk, has died in Japan, where he lived for many years, at the age of 79. He had been in a coma since undergoing heart surgery in January. Corman was a prolific writer, a late scion of Black Mountain with more than 150 titles to his credit. His archivist, Richard Aaron, has reported that `about 80,000 unpublished poems' also survive. Corman wrote constantly, day and night, poetry and correspondence. Through Origin he promoted the work of Robert Creeley, Theodore Enslin, Denise Levertov, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson and Philip Whalen, and he made it a platform for new foreign writers, many of whom he translated. His first `commercially published' book was A Thanksgiving Eclogue to Theocritus (Sparrow, 1954). The classical and the oriental fuse in his work. He is survived by Shizumi Konishi, his wife of 39 years.

TREVOR HOLD, the English composer, poet and music scholar, has died at the age of 64. He was born in Northampton, and the poetry of John Clare was of lifelong importance to him. It was the inspiration behind his four poetry collections Time and the Bell (1971), Caught in Amber (1981), Mermaids and Nightingales (1991) and Chasing the Moon (2001). His compositions for voice and piano were rooted in the English lyric tradition and include the John Clare Songbook (1980) and a setting of Clare for chorus and narrator which he was working on at his death. Trevor Hold is also the author of major studies of English song The Walled-in Garden (1978) on the songs of Roger Quilter, and Parry to Finzi: Twenty English Song Composers (2002), as well as a number of articles and an anthology of Northamptonshire poets.

FREDERICK MORGAN, a founder and for fifty-five years the editor of The Hudson Review and the author of a dozen or more books of poetry (published after he was fifty), died in New York. He was eighty-one. He studied at Princeton under Allen Tate and edited an undergraduate literary magazine. In 1948, after serving in the army, with a solid knowledge of the classics and with a pair of like-educated Princeton friends who lived literature, Joseph Bennett and the classicist William Arrowsmith, he founded his magazine to publish the work of known and new writers and to review a wide cultural range of books. The Hudson Review was not associated with a university and at a time when political affiliation was almost a rule, it did not espouse any cause except `good writing'. The first issue featured poetry by Stevens, cummings and an essay by R.P. Blackmur. Morgan fell under the influence of Ezra Pound and Hudson became more international in its perspectives. Its reach among American writers extended, as well, so that in its pages appeared work by Thomas Mann and John Dos Passos, early work by A. R. Ammons, W. S. Merwin, Joyce Carol Oates and Herbert Gold. Later still it enlisted Eliot, Graves, Hecht, Plath, Roethke, Dylan Thomas, Welty and others. The magazine's circulation never exceeded 4000. It survived on gifts, grants, and the energy of Frederick Morgan himself. Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America and poetry editor of The New Yorker, remembered him in these terms: `He was a great gentleman and an elegant scholar and man of letters, and The Hudson Review has remained receptive to new talent always.'

The poet TED WALKER died in March at the age of sixty-nine, in Valencia, where he had settled in the 1980s. In the late 1960s young readers took him to be one of the major writers to have emerged from Cambridge in the wake of Ted Hughes; he shared some of the elemental vision of Hughes but also possessed a reticence which meant that he did not overwhelm, nor was he overwhelmed by, his subject-matter. He was a nature poet of parts, and Fox on a Barn Door and The Solitaries promised a career which later changed course and shape. He is likely to be remembered as a travel writer and a memoirist rather than a poet, though his poems bear re-reading.

PN Review has received the following letter from Stefania Heim and Jennifer Kronovet, editors of Circumference (P.O. Box 27, New York, NY 10159-0027): Dear Friends, As many of you know `The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes which include Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba.' As the editors of Circumference, a journal of poetry in translation founded on principles of free and open exchange, we want to respond to this issue in the most direct way that we can. We would like to dedicate a substantial section of our next issue to poetry from these countries. We are firm in our belief that not only do we have the right to do this, but that translators working from the languages of these countries are providing an incomparable and necessary service to audiences in this country. Cross-cultural exchange through poetry and translation is a force to be reckoned with. We are writing in the hope that you will assist us in this effort in any way you can: by helping us to gather work for the issue, by recommending translators working on the poetry of these languages, by sending us your own translations, and by spreading the word about this project. Circumference publishes all poems in the original language alongside the English translation, so please ask translators to send the original along as well. For more information about Circumference, visit our website at

The Guardian reported that IAN MCEWAN was barred from entering the United States a day before he was scheduled to lecture to 2,500 people. He was detained by immigration officials as he left Vancouver airport for an engagement in Seattle. Both Laura Bush and Cherie Blair are among his fans, it was reported, and he was recently awarded the National Book Award for Atonement. Immigration officers were unmoved: he should have applied for a visa before attempting entry.

TONY HARRISON has been awarded the £60,000 Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award 2004. Ten other writers have shared £20,500. The award is intended to encourage literary talent in the North East. Harrison has lived and worked in the North East since the late 1960s. This is the first major purse he has won. He was grateful: `The Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award,' he said, `could not have to come at a better time in my career. I need to look back on my poetic ventures, make sense of them as a whole and move forward -- and to experiment without external demands.' He was unable to attend the prize-giving due to `a prior commitment to read in Athens'.

LAVINIA GREENLAW will chair the judges of the 2004 Forward Prize, a happy choice. She will be joined on the panel by Ruth Fainlight, W.N. Herbert, Patience Agbabi and Tim Dee of BBC radio.

The Northern Young Writer of the Year Award has gone to nineteen-year-old DHRUV ADAM SOOKHOO, a Gateshead poet who currently studies architecture at Newcastle University. He is writing a book of poetry, Homecomings.


This item is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

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