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This item is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

News & Notes
At the Poetry Library, Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, from 8 January to 28 March, readers can encounter an extraordinary exhibition of the word as image, STEPHEN RAW's A Darkling Plain: Dissenting Language: Poets and War . Words from Matthew Arnold's 'Dover Beach' provided the exhibition title. They are a reminder of a long tradition of poets who have worked through the rhetoric of glory to the reality of the chaotic brutality of war. The popularity of First World War poetry has sometimes obscured the diversity of poetic voices raised against war, in anger and grief, through the ages. The earliest poet in this exhibition is the Psalmist; the most recent, Carol Ann Duffy. Anne Finch, Charlotte Smith, Thomas Hardy and Robert Minhinnick are among the many poets whose powerful words are recreated in Stephen Raw's work, where he explores what happens to language when it is made visible. 'If straight-forward typography is bypassed,' he says, 'different possibilities arise: bespoke letters for bespoke words.'

The British Library exhibition The Writer in the Garden opened on 5 November and runs until 10 April 2005. The exhibition explores the interrelationship between writers, writing and the garden from the Middle Ages until the present day. Highlights include the illuminated manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose , John Milton's Paradise Lost , Alexander Pope's garden sketches and Coleridge's manuscript of 'Kubla Khan'. (The Pearson Gallery, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London. Admission free.)

A display Petrarch and his Readers opens on 19 November in the John Ritblatt Gallery of the British Library to mark the seven hundredth anniversary of Petrarch's birth. The display gathers together some of the Petrarchan manuscripts and printed books in the British Library collection that have significant associations with English and Italian writers and readers. (British Library, 96 Euston Road, London. Admission free.)

The shortlist for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2004 has been announced. The new sponsor of the Prize is the TV broadcaster Five who will support it for the next three years. The judges this year are Douglas Dunn (Chair), Paul Farley and Carol Rumens chose the following ten collections:

         Colette Bryce The Full Indian Rope Trick (Picador)
         Kathryn Gray The Never Never (Seren)
         Kathleen Jamie The Tree House (Picador)
         Michael Longley Snow Water (Cape)
         Ruth Padel The Soho Leopard (Chatto)
         Tom Paulin The Road to Inver (Faber)
         Peter Porter Afterburner (Picador)
         Michael Symmons Roberts Corpus (Cape)
         George Szirtes Reel (Bloodaxe)
         John Hartley Williams Blues (Cape)

LES MURRAY has been awarded one of Italy's major literary prizes, the Premio Mondello, in Palermo on 27 November 2004, the thirtieth anniversary of the prize. Previous recipients include Seamus Heaney, Philip Roth, J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera and V.S. Naipaul. The prize is awarded to Italian writers and internationally, for translated works. Les is receiving the prize on the occasion of the publication of Fredy Neptune in a dual language English/Italian edition by the Italian publisher Giano.

The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry has announced the judges for the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize. They will be Simon Armitage, Erin Moure (Canada) and Tomaz Salamun (Slovenia). The shortlist, chosen from books published during 2004, will be announced in April and the prize presented in Toronto on 2 June. The rules and entry details are available on www.griffinpoetryprize. com/rules.php.

A cantata by the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, In These Stones Horizons Sing , had its first performance at the opening of the new Welsh Millennium Centre, Cardiff's new international arts centre, on 28 November 2004. The work sets to music poems by Gwyneth Lewis (whose words, which are etched into the slate exterior of the arts centre, give it its title), Menna Elfyn and Grahame Davies.

A lexicographic sleuth of remarkable tact and tenacity, DAVID SHULMAN has died in October at the age of 91. He was an explorer in American English, discovering the earliest attestations of thousands of words. Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary , said Shulman contributed uncountable early usages to the twenty-volume work. 'What David did was read through the sort of things most people don't read.' Things like the National Police Gazette . Not a notably modest man, Shulman claimed to have the last word on 'The Great White Way', 'Big Apple', 'doozy', 'jazz', 'shyster', 'hoochie-coochie' and 'hot dog'. The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue is where he was at home. 'Every inch of Mr. Shulman, from his sneakers to his plastic bag crammed with scrawled notes to his soiled baseball cap, suggested the classic New York eccentric,' the New York Times commented. It identi- fied some of the other eccentrics who haunted the library during the 70 years that Shulman was about. 'There was the welldressed chap who wandered about for years carrying his hat and never touching a book. Or the man who tracked down burial places of 60,000 New Jersey soldiers. Mr. Shulman finally asked why. "I might as well be plain with you," the man replied. "I'm a nut."' He took his original bearings from Norbert Pearlroth, the legendary researcher for Ripley's Believe It or Not! ' He came to seem insufficiently strict: 'Instead of believing it,' Shulman declared in 1999, 'I believed it not.' Asked what difference accuracy and precision made, he declared: 'Why, the same difference as being literate or illiterate, accurate or inaccurate, telling the truth or spreading yarns.'

The Baltimore housewife who wrote one of the most popular funeral poems in the language, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep', has died at the age of ninety-eight. MARY E. FRYE wrote the poem in the 1930s. her authorship was long disputed but it was established beyond a peradventure in 1998. She never published or copyrighted the poem.

Readers are urged to seek out the new Enitharmon Press catalogue (26b Caversham Road, London NW5 2DU). Stephen Stuart-Smith's work as editor is enhanced by his skills as a book designer. The imprint, which began in 1967, has over the last decade and more combined a commitment to fine books and collectors' editions (Heaney's The Testament of Cresseid at £450 and £175) with new collections at 'popular' prices. The volume Land of Evening by Jean Mambrino (translated by Kathleen Raine) and the new edition of Denton Welch's A Voice through a Cloud are just two of several titles to be welcomed.

Sheep Meadow Press have published in a bilingual edition Birds and Bison , poems by Claire Malroux translated by Marilyn Hacker (some of which have appeared in PN Review ). 'The personal and universal cataclysms in Claire Malroux's poetry - a maelstrom of love, torment and sweetness - are viewed,' writes John Ashbery, 'as through the calm lens of a dream. All is surging, hushed, violently human. Marilyn Hacker's gifted translation captures the tone flawlessly.'

The Welsh Academi has announced details of its bilingual Songs of Freedom Conference. The events are scheduled at the Esplande Hotel, Llandudno, from 25 to 27 February 2005. 'The conference will interweave the history and literature of Welsh political struggle with international examples of poetry, protest, journalism and criticism.' Speakers will include Benjamin Zephaniah, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Jack Mapanje, Iolo ap Dafydd, Gillian Clarke, Ned Thomas, Choman Hardi and Damian Walford Davies. Contact the Academi on 029 2047 2266 to book a place.

This item is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to
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