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This item is taken from PN Review 187, Volume 35 Number 5, May - June 2009.News & Notes
La Muse parodique, a new anthology of French poetic parodies from the late nineteenth century edited by Daniel Grojnowski, has been published in Paris by éditions José Corti. The book includes famous poetic satires published during the heyday of the Symbolist and Décadent movements such as the collaborative l’Album zutique of Rimbaud, Verlaine, Charles Cros and others, as well as those which appeared in the magazine Le Décadent under the pseudonym Mitrophane Crapoussin. It also rediscovers lesser-known works such as Le Parnassiculet contemporain, a playful take-off of the journal Le Parnasse contemporain by Paul Arène; and La Légende des sexes: poèmes hystériques et profanes by Edmond Haraucourt. The celebration of the ‘chant à côté’ genre received a glowing review in Le Monde on 2 April. Nils C. Ahl ‘delights’ in what he calls this ‘palimpseste des palimpsestes’ and praises its enduring ‘esprit dissident et frondeur’. Visit www.jose-corti.fr for more information.
The judges of the 2009 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation, Elaine Feinstein and Stephen Romer, invite entries by the closing date of 31 May. The £1,500 prize is open to collections published between 1 June 2007 and 31 May 2009. Entries should be sent to Translation Prize, The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. Phone 020 7420 9892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
AVI SHARON is to receive the 2009 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, it was announced by the Academy of American Poets on 26 March. Sharon is recognised for his translation of C.P. Cavafy’s Selected Poems (Penguin Classics, 2008). Judge John Balaban commented that Sharon’s new Cavafy translation ‘offers us a Cavafy that is accessible in an almost conversational way, without losing its rhythmic current or its exquisite historical associations.’ Avi Sharon has written widely on Greek literature, both ancient and modern, and has translated a number of Greek writers into English, including Yannis Ritsos, George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, and Alexandros Papadiamantis. His translation of Plato’s Symposium was published in 1998 by Focus Press.
The poem ‘Train Journey’ by the Australian poet JUDITH WRIGHT was read during a memorial service for the victims of the recent Australian bushfires, held in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 31 March. The service was attended by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. Born in New South Wales, Wright (1915-2000) was a fervent campaigner for environmental issues and Aboriginal land rights. She was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry in 1992. Judith Wright’s Selected Poems will be republished in 2010 by Carcanet, with a new foreword by John Kinsella. Wright’s poetic tribute to the ‘country that built my heart’, ‘Train Journey’ eulogises the barren, scorched Australian landscape, concluding with the lines: ‘I woke and saw the dark small trees that burn / suddenly into flowers more lovely than the white moon.’
The suicide of NICHOLAS HUGHES, son of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, was announced in March. His sister, poet and critic Frieda Hughes, said that he had been battling depression for some time. Nicholas was a marine biologist with a distinguished academic career who spent much of his life in Alaska. He and his sister were asleep in another room when their mother ended her life in the kitchen of their London flat in 1963, at the age of 30.
Northern Irish poet NICK LAIRD has followed in the footsteps of his hero Seamus Heaney, winning the 2009 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for his second collection, On Purpose (Faber). This prize helped launch Heaney’s own career when he received it for his debut book, Death of a Naturalist, in 1968. The win must be gratifying for Laird, who has cited Heaney’s landmark collection as the book which ‘changed everything’ for him. Previous winners of the Faber prize, awarded in alternate years to verse and prose, include Paul Muldoon, J.M. Coetzee and Graham Swift.
MATTHEW WELTON has been awarded a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship with his regular musical collaborator, the composer LARRY GOVES. The pair are currently working with Aldeburgh musicians on an opera about the life of Frank O’Hara. The piece will be premiered in autumn 2010, with extracts scheduled to be performed at this year’s Huddersfield Festival. Welton is himself a highly musical poet and a long-standing O’Hara aficionado. In July Carcanet publish his second collection of poems with one of the - or the - longest book titles of all time (count the words): We needed coffee but we’d got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we retuned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind. Ask for it in your local bookshop…
News & Notes was wryly delighted with the news that the great American poet William Carlos Williams has been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, along with Walt Whitman and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The New Jersey organisers hope that these rather unlikely honours will finally put to rest the impudent jokes frequently endured by citizens of the ‘Garden State’ (sic). A native of Rutherford, New Jersey, Williams practised locally as a doctor for years, before going on to become Head Paediatrician at the General Hospital in the nearby city of Paterson. Paterson inspired his book-length poem Paterson, composed over a twenty year period. The efforts of the poet’s granddaughter Daphne Williams-Fox contributed to the selection.
The first issue of The Bow-Wow Shop, an international poetry forum edited by Michael Glover, is now available online at www.bowwowshop.org.uk. The first issue includes John Ashbery on the art of collage, Judith Kazantzis on the perpetual re-invention of Ovid, Frederick Turner on ‘the sickly after-life of the lyric’, Mimi Khalvati in conversation with Marius Kociejowski, and John Welch on the ‘arbitrariness and the waywardness’ of poetry. The issue also features translations of the Iraqi poet Fawzi Karim by Anthony Howell and of the Québécois poet Robert Melancon by Eric Ormsby, and new poems by Martina Evans, Norm Sibum, Anthony Howell, Marius Kociejowski, Peter Abbs and others.
Following his Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, GREG DELANTY has been enjoying good fortune. The National Library of Ireland has procured his literary papers up to 2012. And a recent issue of Agenda magazine was devoted to celebrating Delanty’s fiftieth birthday, with contributions by Christopher Ricks, Fiona Sampson, Michael Longley and others. A native of Cork, Ireland, and now an American citizen, Delanty is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Hellbox, The Blind Stitch and Collected Poems 1986-2006 (OxfordPoets/Carcanet). Since 1987 he has taught in the English department at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.
JAMES HARPUR is the winner of the 2009 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award for his collection The Dark Age (Anvil). The award was presented on the opening night of Éigse Michael Hartnett on 23 April in Newcastle, West County Limerick.
Flushed with success: the winners of a unique poetry contest being run by Shetland Islands Council can at least be certain that their poetic offerings will be displayed in a setting where no winning poem has gone before - the public loos of the Northern Isle. Hundreds of entries from across the globe flooded into Shetland after the council announced plans for the world’s first Bards in the Bog contest, reported The Scotsman in April. The first six winners have now been picked by Jen Hadfield, Shetland resident and winner of this year’s T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize. ‘I’ve always loved the idea of sneaking poetry into unexpected places,’ said Hadfield, ‘proving that poetry’s place is in the real world, in real time. I’m looking forward to another of the Library’s fantastic open mike events to celebrate the launch of Bards in the Bog.’ The project has been devised by Poet Partner in collaboration with the Shetland Library, Shetland Arts, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Paul Hamlyn Trust, with the aim of promoting poetry in the community. Budding Bog Bards who missed the first entry deadline in March are reassured that there will be further opportunities to submit poems in June and September. Visit www.shetland-library.gov.uk to read the winning poems and more information about future plumbing-related poetry events.
This item is taken from PN Review 187, Volume 35 Number 5, May - June 2009.