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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 98, Volume 20 Number 6, July - August 1994.

News & Notes
In December of 1993 the Argentinian poet and story writer SILVINA OCAMPO died in Buenos Aires at the age of 90. Younger sister of the legendary editor and literary entrepreneur Victoria Ocampo, she was a friend of Borges and Julio Cortazar and wife of Adolfo Bioy Casares. As an artist she studied with de Chirico and Leger. She translated Emily Dickinson, Poe, Melville and others into Spanish and was also a gifted editor.

WILLIAM STAFFORD, poet, essayist and teacher, died recently at his home outside Portland, Oregon. He was 79. Born in Kansas, Stafford was a graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of Iowa. He moved west to find themes in nature and in the community of small-town family life that are subjects of his finest work. During a career spanning six decades he received numerous honours including the National Book Award (1962) for Traveling Through the Dark. (RIAN COONEY)

In March the Nicaraguan poet JOSE CORONEL URTECHO died at the age of 87. Influenced early by a spectrum of American models, from Whitman to Crane, from Sandburg to Frost, he took a generous and expansive experimental liberalism back to Nicaragua at the age of 21, and his work as poet and editor affected, in one way and another, his contemporaries and subsequent generations. He was a not unworthy successor to Nicaragua's great Ruben Dario, whose poems are at the root of his own more ragged and unsettled talent.

The Scottish-born poet ARTHUR C. JACOBS died in Madrid in March at the age of 57. Remembering him in the Independent, Anthony Rudolf declared: 'Jacobs was one of the best poets of Jewish inspiration writing in English, and an exceptionally gifted translator from the Hebrew.' In a note to this magazine, he added: 'Like his beloved Yiddish-speaking ancestors, Arthur Jacobs awaited redemption in his own Vilna, "a bit east of the Gorbals/in around the heart".'

The lyric poet PATRICK DICKINSON died on 28 January 1994. Born in Nasirabad, India in 1914, he was perhaps best known as a broadcaster (Time for Verse), but his poems, classical with unexpected twists, and his translations of Virgil and the Aristophanes, are his durable legacy.

WALTER STRACHAN, a great teacher in the Tudor sense, with a formative impact on generations of pupils at Bishop's Stortford College, and an enthusiastic expert in fine printing, the livre d'artiste, calligraphy, literature and art, died in March at the age of 91. He wrote poems and was a noted translator of Alain-Fournier, Pavese, Hesse and other European writers.

In May the publishers with the fleur-de-Iys, Sinclair-Stevenson, now a part of the Octopus Group, relaunched their young poetry list with collections by Alan Brownjohn, Martyn Crucefix, Ruth Fainlight, James Michie, Jon Silkin and Anthony Thwaite, an act which almost marks the definitive end of the distinguished Hutchinson poetry list, whose authors have found hospitality elsewhere. Cape, too, re-launched their poetry list with books formatted as chap-books but with real price-tags attached, a brave if not entirely assured venture in design. Time will judge the wisdom of a departure so radical - and reactionary.

In July Faber and Faber publish THOM GUNN'S second major prose book, Shelf Life: essays, memoirs and an interview, assembled by the poet himself (his previous book, The Occasions of Poetry, was assembled by Clive Wilmer). Shelf Life will include primarily his essays on American literature: will his long-awaited appraisal of Yvor Winters - and not just his illuminating memoir - be included?

On 17 June, to celebrate the work of W.S. GRAHAM, and in connection with the celebrated IIkley Literature Festival, a series of events were planned, culminating in the publication of a small book, The Constructed Space, including memoirs, essays and a selection of published and unpublished poetry. The book is a limited edition (150 copies) in hard covers and costs £20.00. Cheques should be sent to Ronnie Duncan, c/o Ilkley Literature Festival, FREEPOST LS 2674, 9a Leeds Road, IIkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8BR.

In January the poet and educationalist BRIAN COX, C.B.E., F.R.S.L., recently retired as Professor of English at the University of Manchester, was named the new Chairman of the Arvon Foundation (in succession to Lawrence Sail), and more recently after some controversy and delay he was made the first Chairman of the new North West Arts Board.

The annual American magazine Pivot, founded in 1951 and edited by Martin Mitchell (250 Riverside Drive, Apartment 23, New York, NY 10025 USA) invites submissions for its 1994 issue.

In February London University's Institute of Romance Studies hosted a conference in association with the Centre for English Studies on the theme of 'FERNANDO PESSOA and Anglo-American Literary Modernism'. Maria de Sousa Santos from Coimbra addressed the gender issues latent in Walt Whitman's 'questioning of patriarchal order' and showed how the heteronymic practice of Pessoa also contained an implicit political dimension relative to Portugal's involvement in empire and independence. Pessoa the man was situated largely by reference to the letters to Ofelia Queiros, and especially those which brought to an end their 'ridiculous Platonic affair', an outcome prefigured in the Book of Disquietude. Peter Rickard of Cambridge, known for his translations of Pessoa and his scholarship, presented the familiar portrait of a figure 'lost in the labyrinth of myself. He was willing to accept an underlying unity in Pessoa's work, but showed how the 'infinite alibis' of the poet promote the impossible outcome of 'a circle without a centre'. Richard Appignanesi, working on a biography of the poet, addressed in a splendidly lively way the question of 'Pessoa's Englishness'. Re-dating the genesis of the enabling heteronym of Alvaro de Campos, Appignanesi quoted a fragment, perhaps from 1908, in which Pessoa declares: 'I long for a great self-esteem'; but this longing, Appignanesi showed, left Pessoa in due course 'diagonal to being', the very desire to act paralysing the ability to do so. It was salutary to reflect that out of the Portugal which Pessoa viewed as 'not so much the sick man of the Occident, but terminally dead' - in 1908 he had expressed the ambition 'to provoke a revolution here' - had emerged a figure still, but obviously not very much longer, something of a mystery, though in many ways more alive than his destiny permitted him to be in life. (JOHN PILLING)

The General Editor regrets the absence of 'News & Notes' from PN Review 97.

This item is taken from PN Review 98, Volume 20 Number 6, July - August 1994.



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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