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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 128, Volume 25 Number 6, July - August 1999.

News & Notes
PAUL METCALF (1917-1999), who died earlier this year, was an eccentric in the very best sense of the word. A great-grandson of Herman Melville, he held a unique place in twentieth-century American literature. He often described his work as 'traditional', rooted as it was in the influences of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams; his best writing emerged after his abandonment of conventional narrative forms in Genoa: A Telling of Wonders (1965). This was followed by Patagoni (1971), The Middle Passage (1976) and Apache (1976). Although his writing has always been compelling and refreshing, his idiosyncratic styles and formal demands prevented Metcalf from gaining more than a small and devoted body of readers. Surprisingly, only a handful of academic critics took notice of his writings. However he did see his Collected Works - three huge volumes - published by Coffee House Press in 1996.

Regular readers of this magazine will be glad to learn that PNR contributor VONA GROARKE has just won the Strokestown Poetry Prize - worth £3000.

The Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition, the biggest of its kind for both published and unpublished writers, has joined forces with one of the giants of communication, British Telecom, in order to develop an extensive education programme throughout schools over the next three years. This sponsorship forms part of BT's Community Partnership Programme which, with a £15 million budget, is one of the largest of its kind in the UK. Chris Meade, Director of the Poetry Society, summed up this opportunity: 'The endorsement of a major organisation like BT is in itself proof that we are getting the message across that Britain is a poetry society.' Entry forms for the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition in association with BT are available as usual by phoning 0171 420 9895.

The 1999 Commonwealth Writers Prize has been won by MURRAY BAIL for his novel, Eucalyptus. Bail was born in Adelaide and has won both the National Book Council Award for Australian Literature and the Melbourne Age Book of the Year award.

Several Dutch-language writers have picked up prizes lately. GERRIT KOUWE-NAAR celebrated his 77th birthday with the publication of both his Collected Poems 1978-1996 and a new collection entitled A Glass to Break. He was also awarded a literary annuity of 15,000 guilders. RUTGER KOPLAND won the VSB Poetry Prize with his latest collection Until our Loosing and picks up a cheque for 50,000 guilders. The most prestigious European literary prize, the Aristeion, has been awarded to the Belgian writer, HUGO KLAUS for his novel Rumours. And finally, the 1998 Martinus Nijhoff Prize for literary translation was awarded to ANNE-MARIE DE BOTH-DIEZ for the entirety of her work in translation.

Poems on the Underground have embarked on a millennium-related project entitled '1000 years of Poetry in English' which can be seen on the tube from early June through to August. Using twelve poems which span the centuries, including Paul Muldoon's translation of 'Caedmon's Hymn' and Blake's 'Jerusalem', the posters will adorn the carriages but can also be seen on display at the Poetry Library in the Royal Festival Hall from July onwards.

The Peterloo Poets Open Poetry Competition 1999 has been won by ALISON PRYDE for 'Reconstituted: Untitled'. She receives the first prize of £3,000, followed by DAVID CRAIG for 'The Oldest Member' (£1,000). All the prizewinning poets will be published in the Peterloo Competition leaflet (£3, telephone 01822 833473).

The winners of the annual Keats-Shelley Prize, worth a total of £2,000, have been announced. The poetry prize winners were Cate Parish (First Prize), John Hartley Williams and Stuart Wilson, while the essay prizes went to James Burton (First Prize) and James Kidd. Entrants to the competition were asked either to begin a poem with a line from Keats or Shelley and to continue in a modern response to a Romantic theme, or to write an essay on any aspect of Keats's or Shelley's work or life.

The Society of Authors have also announced the award and prize winners for 1999, totalling £80,000. In brief, the Cholmondeley Awards went to Vicki Feaver, Geoffrey Hill, Elma Mitchell and Sheenagh Pugh. The Eric Gregory Awards went to Ross Cogan, Matthew Hollis, Helen Ivory, Andrew Pidoux, Owen Sheers and Dan Wyke. The Somerset Maugham Awards went to Andrea Ashworth, Paul Farley, Giles Foden and Jonathan Freedland. The Betty Trask Prize went to Elliot Perlman and Awards went to Catherine Chidgey, Giles Foden, Dennis Bock, Rajeev Balasubramanyam and Sarah Waters. A full list of all prize and award winners can be obtained from The Society of Authors.

The first Iain Crichton Smith Bilingual Writing Fellowship has been awarded to KEVIN MACNEIL - a writer originally from the Isle of Lewis. This new post is essentially a Writer-in-Residence position for the Highlands of Scotland. MacNeil's first collection, Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides focuses on the island which was home to both Crichton Smith and himself.

Four new poetry magazines have appeared in America. Among numerous small-scale journals, these four stand out - first of all because of their names. The Gig (Ontario), The Hat (New York), Skanky Possum (Texas) and Samizdat (Illinois) all offer a kind of light entertainment, reminiscent of New York School realism. Each journal seems promising, with plenty to enjoy. The second issue is always the test, so it is perhaps best to reserve judgment for now.

The Hay-on-Wye (also known as Hay-under- Wye) Festival seemed to be an even greater success this year than last - if that's possible. Despite the rain, the duck boards took a pounding from hundreds of people keen to attend the variety of events boasted by the brochure. The Welsh Book of the Year Award ceremony was the highlight of the final Saturday. The Award was won in Welsh by Bob Jones for Ysbryd y Cwlwm and in English by Emyr Humphreys for The Gift of a Daughter (Seren). Gillian Clarke for Five Fields (Carcanet) and Gwyneth Lewis for Zero Gravity (Bloodaxe) both received a cheque for £1,000 as runners-up.

Inundated as we are with Millennium projects, it was refreshing to read of one set up by a small church in the North East of England. St. Mary's at Willington in North Tyneside has launched a National Poetry Competition to try to raise enough money for the installation of a new window, designed by a local artist, in celebration of the new Millennium. Details of how to enter can be obtained by calling 0191 2632733 or from their web site: http://members. tripod.co.uk/St_Mary_Willington/index. html.

Manchester-based Commonword invite submissions for the Sue Napolitano Award. This £10,000 creative writing commission is open to all disabled writers (poets, novelists, playwrights, screen writers...) writing on the theme of disability. It is designed to develop the skills of individual writers, increase the profile of disability arts and culture and broaden the understanding of disability issues within the wider community. Details can be obtained by calling 0161 2362773.

Writers will be gathering as this is printed, at the 19th Lahto International Writers' Reunion in Finland. The theme for this year is the Limits of Literature and there are writers from over thirty countries participating in what promises to be an excellent programme. Sophie Hannah, Tibor Fischer and Simon Ings are all representing the UK, with writers coming from as far afield as South Africa, Chili, Peru and even Wales. The presentations are available on the internet at: http://www.lahti.fi/kulttuuri/ mukkula/

As we went to press it was announced that JONATHAN GALASSI, the Editor in Chief of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, had won the Weidenfeld Prize 1999 for his translation of Eugenio Montale's Collected Poems 1920-1954. The prize, worth £1,000, was accepted on Mr Galassi's behalf by a representative from Carcanet Press. David Constantine, chairman of the judges, commented on the exceptionally high standard of Galassi's work, calling it 'outstanding'.

Some corrections from the Editorial in PNR 126. The Freud Café is in fact in Walton Street and the Clarendon Building (designed by Hawksmoor) is in Broad Street and is not the present location of the OUP. Apologies.

This item is taken from PN Review 128, Volume 25 Number 6, July - August 1999.



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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