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This item is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

News & Notes
GWYNETH LEWIS has been appointed the first Welsh National Poet, a Laureate or Makar for the Welsh nation. She is an outstanding English-language poet and also one of the leading Welsh-language poets of our time. Her laureateship, on the American model, will last for one year but is renewable for a second. Her inauguration took place at this year's Hay Festival.

This year's Michael Hartnett Award is shared between two different and distinctive voices: SINÉAD MORRISEY for The State of the Prisons and KERRY HARDIE for The Sky Didn't Fall. The award will be presented at the opening of Eigse Michael Hartnett (literary week-end) on the evening of 15 September.

The 2005 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize was awarded to DENNIS JACKSON for his version of Theodor Storm's The Puppeteer and Other Stories, published by Angel Books. The shortlist was especially varied this year, including Antony Hasler's Georg Heym translations and new versions of Chekhov, Gogol and Flaubert.

HELENA NELSON has launched Happen-Stance, a poetry chapbook imprint based in Scotland. In its first year it will focus on Scottish or Scotland-based poets. Later it will cross borders. The imprint will publish Sphinx, a new magazine which celebrates and evaluates poetry in chapbook form. Further information from HappenStance, 21 Hatton Green, Glenrothes KY7 4SD (

Marius Kociejowski writes: About an hour after hearing the report on BBC radio, that the President of Venezuela was giving out a million free copies of Don Quixote, I stepped into a local café where I overheard the following conversation between two men in orange overalls. 'I heard on the radio this morning some geezer in South America, the president of Venezuela, I think, has gone and given away a million copies of Don Quixote.' [Silence] 'So why'd he go and do that then?' 'Well, you know, the novel's set there.'

ELIZABETH MCFARLAND HOFFMAN, one-time poetry editor of Ladies' Home Journal who sandwiched the poems by Auden, Rich and Plath between 'Is Your Marriage a Masquerade?' and 'Bing Crosby's Kitchen for His Bride', died in Philadelphia in May. She was 83. In the August 1950 issue, Auden's 'Secrets' follows an ad for Velveeta. In September 1956, Galway Kinnell's 'Where the Bodies Break' shares a page with 'How to Make 10 Tantalizing Butter Waffles With That Tender Melt-Away Texture'. Hoffman left the magazine in 1962, when new owners put a stop to poetry. Another passing: that of Professor NORMAN JEFFARES, a great Yeats scholar and a teacher who left an indelible mark on post-war English and Scottish university education. And the much-loved Portuguese poet EUGENIO DE ANDRADE has died at 82. His original name was Jose Fontinhas, and he was a poet from the age of thirteen, his first book being published when he was sixteen. He went on to write some thirty volumes of verse and prose and was translated into English, Chinese and other languages. The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called Andrade 'a great personality of Portuguese culture'.

The American poet RICHARD EBERHART died on 12 June at the age of 101. He led a colourful early life, after family bereavements and disappointments going to sea as a deckhand on a steamship, doing a second degree at Cambridge, and working as private tutor for the son of King Prajadhipok of Siam. At St Mark's School, where he taught, one of his pupils was a fractious Robert Lowell. Lowell quipped that Eberhart got up in the morning, squared up to his reflection in the mirror, and declared, 'I'm the greatest poet in America.' His style of recitation emphasised the rhyming words in his poems, making for a very odd, distinctive music. His most famous poem is 'The Groundhog': 'It has been three years, now. /There is no sign of the groundhog./I stood there in the whirling summer,/My hand capped a withered heart,/And thought of China and Greece,/Of Alexander in his tent;/Of Montaigne in his tower,/Of Saint Theresa in her wild lament.' His Selected Poems, 1930-1965 received a Pulitzer Prize in 1966.

More cheerfully, the New York Times reports on a poet who is still alive. STANLEY KUNITZ, Pulitzer Prize winner, twice poet laureate of the United States, will turn 100 this summer. He is still hard at work, he says, in his office and his garden. 'Summer is late, my heart./Words plucked out of the air/some forty years ago/when I was wild with love.' Kunitz tells the interviewer: 'Immortality? It's not anything I'd lose sleep over.'

A previously unknown aria by Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered between the pages of a poetry book rescued from a fire in Weimar. The manuscript, one of the few surviving pieces from Bach's early period, appears at the end of a book previously thought to contain only poetry by a local poet. Bach's aria was written as an accompaniment to some of the poetry in the book, which was given to the Duke of Weimar as a birthday present in 1713.

The Bad Poetry Appreciation Society: visit and participate in the online Bad Poetry Seminar. This irreverent site allows readers to explore the history of bad poetry, learn how to differentiate a good bad poem, a mediocre bad poem and a bad bad poem, and even try their hand at writing a few stinkers themselves.

France's silver-haired patrician newish premier Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin was once described by Jacques Chirac as 'that rare man a poet and a very good platoon commander'. The former interior minister has published several poetry books and a biography of Napoleon; a speech he gave at the UN against the Iraq war has been set to music and released on CD.

This item is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

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