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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 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

News & Notes
DR ROBERT WOOF, CBE, the Director of the Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, and one of the great scholars, curators, critics and literary advocates of our time, died at the age of 74 on 7 November. He was involved with the Wordsworth Trust for over 35 years and developed it into the major national institution it is today. His final achievement was the creation and completion of the Jerwood Centre which houses the collection of 60,000 books, manuscripts and works of art with a Wordsworthian connection. His legacy is immense; his benign, kindly, rigorous presence will be much missed by all friends of Wordsworth and of the Lakes.

Born in Lancaster and educated at the Royal Lancaster Grammar School and at Pembroke College, Oxford, he took his PhD at the University of Toronto, and from 1971 to 1992 was a reader in English at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His wife Pamela, herself a notable scholar, was a mainstay in his life from their marriage in 1958. His books include Wordsworth: The Critical Heritage (2001) and Treasures of the Wordsworth Trust (2005). The Trust was a lifelong passion. He served as trustee, honorary secretary, treasurer and keeper of collections, and was made the first Director in 1992. Due to his insistence, Dove Cottage acquired important manuscripts, books and works of art and the Trust became the holder of one of the most significant Romantic collections in the world. He was responsible for raising funds for acquisitions, for curating exhibitions on Hazlitt, Byron, Milton, Blake and others, for developing an award-winning education programme and for encouraging contemporary writers to read, and artists to exhibit, at Grasmere, which was under his directorship a living cultural resource rather than a mere monument.

The Portuguese lyric poet EUGENIO DE ANDRADE died in Oporto, Portugal, on 13 June 2005, at the age of 82. Celebrated for the delicate originality and fresh sensuality of his verse, Eugénio de Andrade was one of the twentieth century's finest contemporary poets and one of the great representatives and defenders of the art of poetry. Born in the province of Beira Baixa in central Portugal in 1923, he moved with his mother to Lisbon, which later became the centre of Surrealist innovations in art and literature. Andrade became part of the original movement alongside his close friends, Paul de Carvalho and A. Ramos Rosa, yet he progressed beyond the boundaries of Surrealist dogma. His best work absorbed the traditions of Japanese haiku and ancient Greek erotic verse, expressing an intensely personal vision of the world with an undercurrent of homosexual desire. He published three major volumes in close succession during the 1980s: Materia solar ('Solar Material', 1980), O peso da sombra ('The Weight of Shadow', 1982) and Branco no branco ('White on White, 1984). Andrade was also an Inspector of the Ministry of Health for 35 years. He was awarded the Camoens Prize, the highest literary distinction in Portugal, in 2001.

AMRITA PRITAM, the leading Punjab poet and a pioneer of women's writing in contemporary India, died in Delhi on 31 August 2005 at the age of 86. Born in Gujranwala, Punjab in 1919, she was forced into an unhappy arranged marriage at the age of sixteen. Her writing was strongly influenced by the oppression of women in India and by the trauma of Partition in 1947, in which her Sikh family, along with millions of other refugees, fled from the newly created Pakistan for the safer uncertainties of India. Amrita Pritam published two autobiographies, twenty-four novels, fifteen volumes of short stories and twenty-three volumes of poetry, many of which were translated into French, Japanese, Danish and other languages; she also edited the Punjabi literary magazine Nagmani from 1966 until her death. Her successful novel, Pinjar (Skeleton), was adapted into a popular Bollywood film. In 1969 Amrita Pritam became the first Punjabi women to receive the Padma Shree, one of India's highest civilian awards, and in 1982 she received the Jananpeeth award, the highest recognition in Indian literature, for her lifetime contribution to Punjabi literature.

VIZMA BELSEVICA, widely considered the leading Latvian poet of the post-war generation, died in Riga on 6 August 2005. Born in Riga to a working-class family in 1931, Belsevica began writing poetry in the 1940s under the post-war socialist régime. Whilst studying in Moscow between 1955 and 1961 she encountered censure from the Communist Literaturnaya Gazeta for the 'unsocialist' subject matter of her work. However, to the chagrin of Communist authorities, her work continued to be published and translated into English, German, Swedish, and many languages of the Soviet Union. She in turn translated Shakespeare, Pushkin and Eliot. Vizma Belsevica gave up publishing poetry in 1987, but continued to receive honours from Latvia and Sweden, and was considered for the Nobel Prize.

The American poet, novelist, critic, translator and publisher STANLEY BURNSHAW died in Massachusetts on 16 September 2005, at the age of 99. Born in New York in 1906 to Eastern European immigrant parents, Burnshaw edited anthologies of Hebrew poetry and wrote several novellas about his Jewish heritage. Educated at the universities of Columbia, Pittsburgh and Cornell, he also studied at the University of Poitiers and the Sorbonne and translated Paul Eluard, Stefan George and Rafael Alberti among others. Burnshaw was the author of Robert Frost Himself (1986), a biographical memoir of his close friend, whom he edited. He also worked in advertising and publishing. His own poems are in the Frost tradition, with a satirical edge; he is best known, however, for his pioneering anthology The Poem Itself (1960) and for his 1970 work of literary criticism, The Seamless Web.

MICHAEL THWAITES, a poet, naval officer and spymaster, died in Canberra, Australia on 1 November at the age of 90. A civil servant who became director of counter espionage in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Thwaites was also the first Australian to win the King's Medal for poetry in 1940. A former Rhodes Scholar, Thwaites remains the only Australian to have won Oxford's annual Newdigate Prize for poetry, for his 1938 poem Milton Blind. His books include Poems of War and Peace (1968), The Honey Man (1989) and Atlantic Odyssey (1999), a dramatic war memoir charting his experience in the Navy during the Second World War.

Clive Wilmer writes from Cambridge: Readers will recall the unexpected death of THOM GUNN in April 2004. On 29 August 2005 - which would have been Gunn's 76th birthday - there was a celebration of his life and work at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught English poetry - brilliantly, by all accounts - for just under forty years. It was organised by San Francisco's leading literary paper The Threepenny Review in collaboration with the English Department and held at the Doe Library in its handsome Morrison Room.

There were thirteen speakers. I was the only resident of Gunn's native country, as well as of his University town. The other speakers, all friends of his and all American, included Wendy Lesser (the Review 's dynamic editor) Michael André Bernstein (a colleague from the Faculty and author of a splendid book on Pound) and two fine living American poets, August Kleinzahler (well-known to British readers) and Jim Powell (who ought to be). The event closed with reminiscences - hilarious, ribald and deeply moving - from Gunn's partner Mike Kitay. He began his talk with tales of 'Gunn control' and concluded with a reading of 'The Hug', a poem written both for him and about him, which celebrates their fifty-year relationship, first passionate, then warmly 'familial'.

We were there because Gunn had been known to care for us. He never measured people by their 'importance' and, as Kleinzahler noted, he discouraged acolytes. But though he was a natural egalitarian, ignored conventional prestige and disliked formality, he was in literary matters - as Bernstein observed - a believer in hierarchy: in the hierarchies, that is to say, of artistic value. That kind of traditionalist rigour proved as much the keynote of the day as the easy informality that marked his way of life.

A WALT WHITMAN exhibition is currently on display at the New York Public Library, to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Whitman's groundbreaking poem, 'Leaves of Grass'. Whitman revised and added to the poem throughout his life, and 'I Am With You': Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855-2005) features first and rare editions of the major versions, as well as photographs, manuscript drafts, books, and trial proofs annotated in the poet's hand. Curated by Isaac Gewirtz, the items on display are drawn primarily from the holdings of the Library's Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, with additional material from other New York Public Library collections. Telephone 001 212 869 8089 or visit www.nypl.org for further information.

PETER LAWSON has edited a new anthology, Anglo-Jewish Poetry from Isaac Rosenberg to Elaine Feinstein, featuring a foreword by Anthony Rudolph. The first book-length study to survey the phenomenon of twentieth-century Anglo-Jewish poetry, the anthology includes fresh interpretations of the work of Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, John Rodker, Jon Silkin, Karen Gershon and Elaine Feinstein. To order a copy, send a cheque for £19.50 (paperback) or £45 (cased) to Vallentine Mitchell Publishers, Suite 314, Premier House, 112-114 Station Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7BJ.

On 5 October, the 2005 Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection was awarded to David Harsent for his ninth collection, Legion (Faber). Helen Farish won the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection for Intimates (Jonathan Cape), and Paul Farley received the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for his intriguingly titled piece 'Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second'.

The shortlist for the thirteenth T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was announced in November. Judges David Constantine, Kate Clanchy and Jane Draycott selected ten collections: Polly Clark, Take Me with You (Bloodaxe); Carol Ann Duffy, Rapture (Picador); Helen Farish, Intimates (Cape); David Harsent, Legion (Faber); Sinead Morrissey, The State of the Prisons (Carcanet); Alice Oswald, Woods etc. (Faber); Pascale Petit, The Huntress (Seren); Sheenagh Pugh, The Movement of Bodies (Seren); John Stammers, Stolen Love Behaviour (Picador); and Gerard Woodward, We Were Pedestrians (Chatto). Administered by the Poetry Book Society, the T.S. Eliot Prize has been called 'poetry's most coveted award' (The Times). The £10,000 prize will be presented by Mrs Valerie Eliot at an award ceremony in London on Monday 16 January 2006.

To Google or not to Google? That is the question... Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford, the New York Public Library and Oxford University have signed agreements with the search engine Google to create searchable digital copies of their library collections. This will entail Google scanning fifteen million books from the five leading research libraries. Supporters of the controversial project believe it will help to preserve academic material and make it accessible to the world. However, many authors and publishers protest that it violates copyright law; Google was sued in September by a group of authors, and in October by five major publishers. Another concern is that the process of scanning could damage the libraries' delicate rare volumes. Overseeing the project at Harvard is Professor Sidney Verba, director of the Harvard University Library and a former chairman of Harvard University Press. Initially sceptical about the viability of the project, Verba is sympathetic to the concerns of publishers and authors. But as a librarian and a teacher, he argues that the digitalisation project will meet the needs of students who use the Internet to conduct their research, and that allowing online access to small excerpts of copyrighted works will direct readers to the books themselves: 'It's a fascinating time, and very confusing...we're taking it day by day.' It is estimated that Google is spending more than $200 million on the project; the company aim to complete the digitalisation within a decade.

Alessandro Gallenzi and Elisabetta Minervini, formerly of Hesperus Press, have founded a new publishing press, Alma Books. Alma plans to publish between twenty and thirty titles per year, focusing upon works of literary fiction. Information about Alma's publishing programme will be available soon from www.almabooks.co.uk.

News & Notes compiled by Eleanor Crawforth

This item is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.



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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