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This item is taken from PN Review 133, Volume 26 Number 5, May - June 2000.

News & Notes
One of the most distinguished figures on the Welsh literary scene has died in Aberystwyth at the age of 92. GWYN JONES, novelist, short-story writer, translator, editor and critic was the last survivor of that generation of Welsh writers who came to prominence in the decade before the Second World War. Born in New Tredegar, he graduated from Cardiff and went on to teach English at schools in the English Midlands before returning to Wales in 1935 to lecture at his old college. He published four very different novels in quick succession; Richard Savage (1935), Times Like These (1936), The Nine Days' Wonder (1937) and Garland of Bays (1938). Later, three volumes of short stories appeared: The Buttercup Field (1945), The Still Waters (1948) and Shepherd's Hey (1953). In 1939, he founded The Welsh Review, editing it until 1948. The magazine provided a forum for the discussion of Welsh affairs in English and did much to define Anglo-Welsh literature at a critical phase. Jones edited crucial anthologies including The Oxford Book of Welsh Short Stories (1956) and The Oxford Book of Welsh Verse in English (1977). As a translator, his major achievement was an English version of The Mabinogion, published by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1948 and later in Everyman's Library, in which edition it remains in print. He occupied the Chairs of English at Aberystwyth (1940-64) and Cardiff (1964-75) and was Chairman of the Welsh Committee of the Arts Council of Great Britain (1957-67).

ALEX COMFORT died on 26 March 2000 at the age of 80. Best known for The Joy of Sex (1972), Comfort was also a physician, poet, novelist, anarchist and pacifist. His first book, The Silver River, was published in 1938 while he was still a student at Cambridge. Born in 1920, he had a dazzling academic and, until his early thirties, a dazzling literary career. He is said rather to have despised his sex books: he hoped to be remembered for his poetry, his political writing, his novels and his scientific work.

The founder of one of the ground-breaking publishing houses of the 1950s-1980s has died, aged eighty two. ANDRÉ DEUTSCH cultivated, encouraged and nurtured his writers and his eponymous imprint for a time boasted one of the great poetry lists, being among the first to publish Geoffrey Hill, Elizabeth Jennings and Peter Levi, and to promote the work of Laurie Lee, Roy Fuller and others. Deutsch's passion for publishing was not notably commercial in origin: he simply loved the trade which was, at the end of the Second World War, still a gentleman's business. Like George Weidenfeld and others, he came to Britain in his case from Hungary just before the War. Where literary publishing would have been without these outward-looking and visionary immigrants is hard to imagine. Deutsch's first 'find' was Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. He was proud of his authors but modest about his own achievements. Whilst other publishing companies were merging or being taken over, Deutsch remained independent, and it was a treat for authors and fellow publishers to be invited into the attic rooms of the handsome buildings on Great Russell Street for an excellent lunch prepared by Deutsch's own chef. It was hard for him to end his association with the firm, but eventually he did leave it in the hands of Tom Rosenthal, who later sold it. André Deutsch Ltd today bears little resemblance to the literarily dynamic and innovative imprint it was at its height.

R.P. GUPTA, writer, collector and inexhaustible raconteur has died in Calcutta aged seventy nine. He was born in Cuttack, Orissa in 1921. He travelled to Calcutta around the outbreak of the Second World War to study economics. His career was bohemian; he supported himself by private tutoring, translation (of T.S. Eliot into Oriya, for example) and other expedients, including playing a Chaplinesque role as a lightweight boxer in a cigarette commercial. It was here that he met his lifelong friend, Satyajit Ray. He never confused 'the meaning of life' with 'salaried employment' and pursued his writing career after retirement, publishing regularly in Bengal's literary magazine Desh and elsewhere. His informative, anecdotal and historical pieces had the quality of his conversation, and he wrote with characteristic mischief and wit. He loved the interplay between Bengali and English. Gupta was awarded the West Bengal government's Vidyasagar prize for his lifetime's contribution to Bengali letters.

A new website featuring interviews with poets was launched at the beginning of March. It currently provides long extracts from published conversations with Thom Gunn, Anthony Hecht, Anthony Thwaite, Donald Hall, Michael Hamburger and W.D. Snodgrass. Additions to the series will appear at regular intervals, but scheduled so far are; Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Seamus Heaney, Donald Justice, Paul Muldoon and Richard Wilbur. Access them on

A date for your diary. The Yvor Winters Centenary Symposium will run this year from 16-18 November at the Stanford Humanities Centre, Palo Alto, California. Confirmed participants so far include; R.L. Barth, Turner Cassity, Dick Davis, Susan E. Dunn, Kenneth Fields, Thom Gunn, Donald Justice, Donald Hall, Christopher Ricks and Timothy Steele. For further information, go to and access the events listing page.

From a review in The Scotsman, 5 February 2000: 'Like the Pompidou Centre, [Tom] Paulin's poetry often wears its insides on its outsides, lifting its metaphorical skirts to reveal the poem as a nuts-and-bolts affair, the poet commenting on his poetry, or sidetracked by his own thought process, or possessed by the work of other artists - Chagal, Joyce, Heaney.' (The Wind Dog, Tom Paulin, Faber £7.99; reviewer: Ilyse Kusnetz)

'Writing Year Zero' is the title of a conference to be held at the University of Glamorgan on Saturday 13 May. The theme: the state of writing at the turn of the millennium. Speakers include Gillian Clarke, Iain Sinclair, John Kinsella, David Kennedy and Michael Schmidt. There will be opportunities to participate in writing workshops. Further information from Mary Earl, phone: 01443 482 174 e-mail:

The University of Bristol is hosting 'A Major International Conference on John Dryden' from 7-9 July 2000. The conference is primarily a celebration of Dryden's tercentenary and many of the world's leading Dryden scholars will be present. Details are available from Department of English on 0117 928 7786, or by e-mailing

The Pulitzer Prize-winner for poetry this year is C.K. WILLIAMS, whose syntax-stretching poetry in Repair and earlier books is published in the United Kingdom by Bloodaxe Books.

TOMÁS SEGOVIA has won this year's Octavio Paz Award. Poet, narrator, essayist and translator, Segovia's publications are many and varied. More recently they include Cantata a Solas (1985), Lapso (1987) and Ensayos. Actitudes. Contracorrientes (1988). Segovia was a collaborator on the Diccionario del español de México. He is a Fellowship holder of the El Colegio de México, of the Centro Mexicano de Escritores and of the Farfield and Guggenheim Foundations. He collaborated with Octavio Paz himself on the magazines Plural and Vuelta.

Light's List of Literary Magazines 2000 is a must for those keen to target their poetry submissions effectively. A chunky booklet, now in its fifteenth edition, it contains names, addresses, price, frequency, page count and a brief note of interests of over 1,450 British, American, Canadian, Australian, European, African and Asian magazines publishing creative writing and artwork in English. At £1.50 including postage, it's a pocket size version of the annual tomes available. Make cheques payable to John Light at Photon Press, 37 The Meadows, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 1NY.

News & Notes compiled by GAYNOR HODGSON.

This item is taken from PN Review 133, Volume 26 Number 5, May - June 2000.

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