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This item is taken from PN Review 165, Volume 32 Number 1, September - October 2005.

News & Notes
PHILIP HORSBAUM, the midwife for a variety of schools and movements of poetry last century, from The Group which he convened in Cambridge days onward to the Ulster and the Glasgow Renaissances, died in June, just a day short of his seventy-third birthday. He was a strict and clear-headed teacher with a firm belief in certain models of critical discourse, especially those which foregrounded texts and addressed the issues that they raised in a rational way, 'making sense', which entailed making certain kinds of sense. This was Richards's practical criticism brought to bear directly on creative practice, with a Leavisian certainty of purpose and principle. Criticism was in a sense a precondition, if not for creativity itself, then certainly for the development of creative skills among writers and readers (for reading was a precise and demanding art in itself). He studied with Leavis who remained for him 'the greatest man I ever met', and from whom he (gratefully) never recovered. He was a firm advocate of the work of some poets whose work he could not get the Establishment (with which he maintained a distrustful relationship) to accept, and was known to put his money where his mouth was and pay the cost of publication of certain books he admired. His own books of poetry (there may be a posthumous collection) were all published in a period of eight years, starting in 1964, and they show his harsh, rebarbative wit, a Swiftean sense of the negative emotions without Swift's hardness on himself or his vexed humanity. Alan Brownjohn rightly characterises him as having possessed 'a dauntingly charismatic personality'.

Professor DAVID DAICHES, an authority on the literature of Scotland, the first Professor of English at Sussex University, a diplomat and a committed educator, died in July, well into his nineties. One of his missions was to try to resurrect a readership for the writings of Sir Walter Scott; he was also an advocate of Robert Fergusson. His achievement across the board in English studies is phenomenal but he was especially a pioneer of Scottish Studies. He published poems as well. The Irish poet MICHAEL DAVITT, active in the 1970s and 1980s as a performer and something of an Irish language Beat, has died in Sligo aged 55. His work was touched by cummings, Ginsburg, Dylan, and did with his language things seldom heard before. He was also an active collector of and advocate for Irish traditional verse and music. In the week of his death the European Union declared Irish an official language of the union. The Greek poet MANOLIS ANAGNOSTAKIS died in June at the age of eighty. A poet who took his bearings from the brutal occupation of his country by the Germans, then by the civil war and its aftermaths, his work was politically engaged. He was sentenced to death in 1949 but the sentence was commuted to a period of internal exile. His commitment to the left did not survive, and he is transmuted from activist into elegist for an age that never quite existed.

The thirtieth anniversary of Anthony Astbury's Greville Press is being marked with the publication (in collaboration with Carcanet) of the Press's one hundredth title, The Tenth Muse. The enterprise began with Seven Poems by George Barker, a hardcover pamphlet, to which over the years Astbury added new work by known and unknown poets he admires, from the past (he has a penchant for the seventeenth century). Alan Ross, Nessie Dunsmuir and Sidney Graham, Harold Pinter, Anne Ridler, John Heath-Stubbs, David Wright, B.H. Fraser and many others have had the pleasure of appearing in his handsome, classical pamphlet series. My favourite of his productions is Julian Orde's 'The Conjurors', originally published in Poetry Nation VI.

The Play of Gilgamesh by EDWIN MORGAN was selected as a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation for autumn 2005. Gilgamesh is a verse re-telling of the Sumerian epic. In Morgan's version, the story of Enkidu, a child of nature who dies of a virus of the blood, relates to present concerns.

Five first collections have been nominated for the Felix Dennis Prize for the Best First Collection, part of the Forward Prize pro-motion. Lucky Day by Richard Price and Marabou by Jane Yeh join Intimates by Helen Farish, To a Fault by Nick Laird and Scattering Eva by James Sheard.

GILLIAN CLARKE is Cardiff's Capital Poet 2005. Fresh from her tenure as Poet in Residence at Ledbury Festival, she addressed HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as part of their three day visit to Wales. Her autumn activities include responding to an exhibition of William Burgess, the Cardiff architect, celebrating the culmination of a series of poetry and dance workshops with a Czech dance company, and performing during another royal visit in October.

This year's Cholmondeley Awards went to Jane Duran, Christopher Logue, M.R. Peacocke and Neil Rollinson. Eric Gregory Awards - only four in 2005 - were awarded to Melanie Challenger, Carolyn Jess, Luke Kennard and Jaim Smith.

The first annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize has been announced. The prize is worth £1,750 or $3,000, with publication in the United Kingdom and in the United States by Waywiser Press. It will be given for the best first or second collection of poems in English. Submit a manuscript of between fifty and a hundred pages, with a cheque for the entry fee of £14 or $25. Full guidelines and an entry form available from Waywiser's website:

An exhibition of SARAH RAPHAEL 's drawings will open on 6 September at the Marlborough Galleries in London. This is a major representation of one aspect of her remarkable work, and further proof of her close relationship with writing and the writ-ten word., one of the best literary web-sites with a strong commitment to poetry, has been redesigned and is worth adding to your favourites. The Guardian was not far wrong when, in choosing it as one of the top ten literary blogs, described the site, run and largely written by Mark Thwaite, as a 'home-grown treasure... with smart, serious analysis', now enhanced with various new features. is a new website of literary news, reviews and comment which combines six of the UK's leading literary blog sites: Bookworld, Buzzwords, Ready SteadyBook, Scarecrow, Splinters and This Space. For non cyber-minded readers, 'blogging' (meaning 'web log') refers to the internet phenomenon of individuals posting regular commentary, essays and personal thoughts on the web. Britlitblogs hopes to draw attention to forgotten or overlooked books through varied discussion of poetry and poets, theory and form, biography and prose.

The Wordsworth Trust has extended its flourishing contemporary arts programme with the launch of a series of new poetry publications. The first book in the series, The Gift Returned, is a debut collection by Hamish Robinson, Writer in Residence at the Trust (ISBN 1 870787 98 6; £5.00).

As a tribute to A.E.DYSON who died in 2002, The Critical Forum has issued an edited transcript of two recordings which he made in 1978 and 1981, discussing poems by Donne and Marvell, under the title John Donne, Songs and Sonets: A Discussion (£5.99, ISBN 0 9550 433 01, details from 10 West Street, Buckingham MK18 1HL or The Critical Forum series of recordings, founded by Julian Lovelock and A.E. Dyson, included discussions by Ted Hughes, R.S. Thomas, Frank Kermode and L.C. Knights; copies of the original cassettes are now held in the library of the University of Buckingham.

In July 2005 Tern Press in Market Drayton, Shropshire published Ivor Gurney's Twenty Poems of Elizabethans, selected with an introduction by R.K.R. Thornton, with lithographs by Nicholas Parry, in a limited edition of thirty copies. Nicholas and Mary Parry, artists and designers and the founders of Tern Press, print their books on hand-made papers with their own illustrations, conceiving of the book as 'an overall work of art, rather like an opera, with a body (stage - props - paper - binding), intellect (thoughts - words - libretto), and feelings (music - colour - prints)... Thus our books are not conceived, designed, produced through process, but are perceived, arranged and produced through craft.' Their earlier books include poems by Radnoti and John Clare's Remembrances.

This item is taken from PN Review 165, Volume 32 Number 1, September - October 2005.

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