Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This item is taken from PN Review 71, Volume 16 Number 3, January - February 1990.

News & Notes
'Because I am enjoying an especially sweet melon, must I take an interest in the gardener and endure his gossip?' Between 1932 and about 1953 Wallace Stevens filled several notebooks with excerpts and aphorisms culled from his reading and his reflections on this miscellany. Occasionally these notes illuminate the poems of the period, and generally they confirm the idiosyncratic, eclectic reading which nourished the texture of his poems. From the manuscripts in the Huntingdon Library, Milton Bates has assembled a facsimile and transcription of this commonplace book, Sur Plusieurs Beaux Sujects (sic - sujects being probably a deliberate archaism). Bates provides translations and annotations. The edition - a handsome one - is published by Stanford University Press.

Taiwan has a News Bureau Code stipulating that publications which 'offend or instigate other people, and violate or blaspheme sacrificial rites' shall be prohibited from importation, translation and publication. By such criteria, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses has been found wanting and is now prohibited. Meanwhile Venezuela has become the first Western country in which The Satanic Verses has been actually banned. (Index)

The first issue of Poetica, an occasional review published by Allardyce, Barnett, is to hand. It opens with a previously unpublished poem by Veronica Forrest-Thomson (whose Collected Poems and Translations is to appear in 1990). The spirit of this issue of Poetica is caught in the translations of Paul Celan, Rene Crevel, and Oyvind Berg and, particularly, the poems by J.H. Prynne, Peter Riley and Douglas Oliver. Poetica is available from 14 Mount Street, Lewes BN7 1HL.

Since Nicolas Tredell's essay in PNR about Raymond Williams, there has been a spate of essays which looks set to continue. Verso have published one of particular interest: under the title The Politics of Modernism: Against the New Conformists, Tony Pinkney has assembled a range of Williams's writings hitherto rather scattered and fugitive, compiling it within Williams's own sketch of a scheme for a book he had planned on Modernism. The compilation is introduced by Pinkney's essay on Modernism and cultural theory. Another new publication, from Polity Press, is Terry Eagleton's Raymond Williams: Critical Perspectives, a collection of essays by several hands - Edward Said, Bernard Sharratt, Stuart Hall and Fernando Ferrara, among others - as well as a comprehensive bibliography of Williams's writings, Eagleton's interview with Williams, and an engaging selection of photographs taken between 1926 and 1989.

Earlier News & Notes (in PNR 63 and 64) referred to the scholarly controversy - in the Milwaukee journal Cockpit - surrounding the English sources of Juan Jesus Rodriguez's early, and only, political novel and his unsuspected sojourn in an English ship-building town during the Depression. A full account of the research and debate is now to appear in a monograph, From Naturalism to Magic Realism, to be published by the Latin American Centre, Boulder Clough Institute, Milwaukee.

Peterloo Poets announces its fifth competition for new poetry. As well as Peterloo's editor and founder, Harry Chambers, the judges will be Alastair Niven, Grace Nicholls, and Lawrence Sail. The first prize is £1,000 and there is a special Afro-Caribbean / Asian prize of £500. Alastair Niven, of the Arts Council, edited the 'Commonwealth' anthology of poetry Under Another Sky. Full details of the competition are available from 2 Kelly Gardens, Calstock, Cornwall PL18 9SA, and the deadline is 1st February 1990.

New from the National Poetry Foundation at the University of Maine, David Jones: Man and Poet is particularly welcome because it exceeds the brief of its title, featuring pieces which deal expressly with the work of the visual artist. Although, as the editor John Matthias points out, Jones's reputation is now substantial enough to have absorbed his many factional apologists - Welsh, Catholics, historians of World War I, et al - there has been a noticeable reluctance to examine the painting and the poetry as the products of a unified sensibility. The book's colour plates emphasize that Jones's idealized, even deified female forms constitute an important prelude (and Jones was a painter before he was a poet) to the feminine symbolism of the writings. One obvious approach to a more broadly based criticism would be via biography, and Matthias has included in his introduction excerpts from an unpublished work by Thomas Dilworth.

From Diana Collecott and Harriet Tarlo at the School of English, Durham University comes news of an 'intensive but informal' reading week concerning H.D. It is planned for the week of 30 June to 7 July next year, in a house on the North Cornish coast some miles from where H.D. and Bryher met. Readers are invited to send for details before 15 January, stating briefly their interests in H.D., though academic status is not required.

The next Leuven Festival in November has no less ambitious a theme than 'Poetry and Science', and will be emboldened by a Goethe soirée as a reminder of times when such fields were not considered at odds with each other (or even separate 'fields'). The programme offers lectures and colloquia addressing such questions - as the brochure has it - as the language of science and the poet, poetry as knowledge of the human psyche, the role of poets in a world dominated by technology, and 'is it possible to unite poetic and scientific strategies? Or are both predistined to diverge?' Converging at such altitudes, poets as unlike as Miroslav Holub and Dannie Abse are to rub oxygen masks.

A complete translation of Aneirin's Y Gododdin together with the Welsh text has been published by the Gomer Press, Llandysul, Dyfed in their 'The Welsh Classics' series. (Previous publications are Dafydd ap Gwilym: A Selection of Poems, with translations by Rachel Bromwich, and Hywel Dda: The Law, translated by Dafydd Jenkins.) Aneirin's translator is A.O.H. Jarman, whose rendering is certainly very readable, though it lacks the grace and speed of Tony Conran's doubtless less accurate partial version. 'The Welsh Classics' are extremely beautifully produced and remarkably inexpensive (Y Gododdin costs £14.95) and deserve to reach a very wide audience, particularly, one may add, among the English, who are all too often content to remain in ignorance of the literary achievements of the peoples with whom they share these islands.

There's not the need now for MacDiarmid's advice of 1922: 'If there is to be a Scottish revival, the first essential is to get rid of our provinciality of outlook and to avail ourselves of Continental experience.' It's entirely appropriate that Edwin Morgan and Alastair Mackie should dominate the new anthology, from Edinburgh University Press, of translations of European poetry by modern Scottish poets. More problematic must have been the decision to exclude translations into Gaelic, or indeed from Gaelic into Scots or English, though the editors notice that Derick Thompson is preparing a volume which will address the difficulty and redress the balance. A useful glossary of Scots is provided. A principal virtue of the collection is that although it's been necessary to settle for some extracts, to accommodate the admirable range of translation, this hasn't pushed out entirely the complete versions of long poems: so we have Valéry in Douglas Young's 'The Kirkyaird by the Sea' and Blok's 'The Twelve' in Sydney Goodsir Smith's translation. The editors are Peter France and Duncan Glen.

Having recorded Charles Tomlinson's entire poetical output, the University of Keele Library has set itself to provide a similarly comprehensive service for Hugh MacDiarmid, Basil Bunting and Roy Fisher. In the meantime, a cassette of preliminary Fisher selections is available at £5.50 from the Department of English, University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG.

Chapman 57 features the final instalment of Sorley MacLean's 'The Cuillin'. This concludes a seven part serialisation of the poem, published here for the first time in its definitive version. Copies of the magazine are available for £1.75 from 80 Moray Street, Blackford, Perthshire, PH4 1QF.

A last minute chance to enter the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. Two winning collections will be published as one attractive double-booklet, and an anthology featuring work from the best of the runners-up will also appear. 16 pages of poems should be sent together with a suitably sized sae and the fee of £4.95. Poems should be typed on one side only of separate sheets. They may have been published in magazines, but should not have appeared as a collection. Michael Schmidt is this year's adjudicator. Send to Duncan Curry, The Poetry Business, 51 Byram Arcade, Westgate, Huddersfield HD1 1ND.

This item is taken from PN Review 71, Volume 16 Number 3, January - February 1990.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image