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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 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.

News & Notes
ROSICA COLIN died on April 25 at the age of 80. Her name will not be familiar to many readers, but her work may well be-she was a literary literary agent, one of the old school whose devotion was to writers and books first and to copyrights after. Not that she sold her authors short. On the contrary: she valued them as writers, and it is hard to imagine her using the now common term 'property' to describe a book she was trying to place. Born in Romania, she came to Britain in 1939, worked in publishing and for the BBC at Bush House, etc., before establishing herself as an agent. With her background and her command of languages, she was also a fine judge of new writing. Her authors included Genet, Beckett, Ionesco, Böll, Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre, Lampedusa and others. And she represented a number of British writers to Europe and at home. The Times rightly stressed 'her unique achievements in renewing the interchange of literary talent throughout Europe after the war and subsequently'. Her fine agency continues to bring good new work to British publishers, and one characteristic of Rosica Colin and of her agency is its generosity to small firms and journals which are perceived as part of the world of letters, despite their modest resources.

On 28 February JOSEPH LEFTWICH died at the age of 90. He was a passionate advocate of the work of Isaac Rosenberg -who had been a friend of his-and a man learned in British and Yiddish culture, illuminating one by the light of the other. He was born in Holland, son of a Polish cobbler, came to England as a child, and became a journalist, critic and poet.

The Polish lyric poet KAZIMIERA ILLAKOWICZ died in Poznan on 16 February at the age of 90. A member of the landed gentry by birth, she studied at Oxford and Geneva and returned to Poland. She published her first book of poems when she was 18. Many books followed. Her Collected Poems were published in Warsaw in 1971.

JERZY ANDRZEJEWSKI, the Polish writer and dissident, died in Warsaw in April. He was 73. He is best-known in the West for his novel Ashes and Diamonds, made into a film by Andrzej Wajda in 1958. He began as a story writer and went on to novel publication, learning from Conrad, Bernanos and Mauriac. He joined the Writers' Union after the War. He was much-criticised by fellow writers for becoming a Marxist, but his orthodox commitment was short-lived. He resigned from the Party because of its censorship policy. By the late 1960s he was a dissident. He was a member of KOR, the Workers' Defence Committee (1976). The mainsprings of his work are the two experiences which determined his outlook: early exposure to the Roman Catholic Church and, in middle life, his experience of Marxism. If his tone is highly moralised, the moralism has a remarkable degree of lived authority.

A rather sad celebration took place in Paris during the week of 27 May: the centenary of the death of CYPRIAN NORWID, the great Polish poet, who died in the French capital on 23 May 1883. A plaque was unveiled on the house where Norwid spent his last six years, a Polish religious house at 119, rue du Chevaleret. After his death, Norwid became a symbolic figure, though during his life he was little understood by his fellow writers. His models were French, and he was a remarkably versatile artist, in prose, poetry, painting, sculpture and engraving. One of his burning ambitions was for Poland to have a great literary culture. In this, at least, his ambition has been fulfilled.

The Russian poet of Polish descent IRINA RATUSHINSKAYA, now 30 years of age, has been given a maximum sentence-12 years-for distributing her verses in samizdat form in the Soviet Union. She is charged with 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda'. She is to spend 7 years in labour camp and five years in internal exile. As a poet, she considers herself a Pole (though she carries a Russian passport). In 1978 she was loaned the works of Pasternak, Mandel stam and Tsvetaeva. She was stunned: her understanding of Russian literature 'began to shake and splinter'. She began to write. Certainly her poems are forth right in their social criticism. A samizdat essay on events in Poland also told against her. She was arrested in Kiev in September 1982. (INDEX BN 3)

The 1983 Pier-Paolo Pasolini Prize for literature has been awarded in Milan to EDMOND JABES for his entire oeuvre. In Italy, Jabès' work is published by Elitropia, a small establishment which is gradually bringing out the whole of the Book of Questions, a huge and ambitious project for this three-year-old imprint which also publishes Maurice Blanchot and a fascinating magazine entitled In forma de parole which sets out to consider poetry and philosophy at the same time and includes translations, rediscoveries and new work. (Elitropia, via Guido da Castello, 17-42100 Reggio-Emilia, Italy)

In Paris, a cultural opposition to the Western European Peace Movement was established in May, with an 'Offensive against Soviet "Imperialism" '. The group is composed largely of exiles-among them the prime movers Vladimir Bukovsky and the recently released Cuban storyteller Armando Valladaras, as well as Ionesco, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bruno Bettelheim, and Simon Wiesenthal. The group, financed by individual contributions and already stigmatised by Left and Right for its even-handedness, represents, in the European intellectual context, a genuine risk for those participating. The combined insistence on human rights and strong defence policies in the West and among our allies seems contrived to irritate both establishments. I wonder how high a profile the new group will be able to maintain in the cultural world with its pressures of conformity?

The West Berlin Academy of Art has used as the epigraph for its exhibition marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Burning of the Books (May 1933) the quotation from Heine's Almansor, which refers to earlier burnings in Spain when Islamic scriptures were destroyed in the marketplace in Granada: 'That was only a prelude, there, for where they burn books, they burn men also in the end.'

ANGEL RAMA, the Uruguayan literary critic, and MARTA TRABA, the novelist and art critic, both renowned academics, are faced with expulsion from the United States. Their visas have been revoked under the controversial McCarren-Walter Act, provoking protest among academics and civil rights workers.(INDEX MC 27)

News is sometimes slow to come out of Libya. It is now clear that a group of 13 Libyans, most of them writers and journalists, are being held in Tripoli Central Prison and Kuweifiya Prison, Benghazi, after reportedly having been sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1980. They were arrested after a meeting in Benghazi held to commemorate the death of the Libyan poet Ali Ragi'iy. Those taken into custody have reportedly been maltreated.
(INDEX AW 12)

Eighteen writers, all belonging to the Turkish Writers' Union, have been on trial at the Istambul Martial Law Court since 6 January. They are facing 8 to 15 years' imprisonment if convicted. The accusations are bizarre. The President of the Union, Aziz Sesim, a well-known writer of humorous pieces, is facing ten years' imprisonment if convicted for an article he wrote 22 years ago. (INDEX LHT 19)

Jean and Catherine Camus, Albert Camus' children, have given to the National Library in Paris a valuable addition to the already extensive Camus archive: a 1943 draft, notes, proofs and revisions of La Peste.

The Spanish poet-Lorca's friend and contemporary-and political activist, RAFAEL ALBERTI, who celebrated his eightieth birthday recently, has been honoured in France as well as in Spain. He was given an honorary doctorate at the University of Toulouse. He was also- inevitably-decorated by the Minister of Culture, Jack Lang (who, incidentally, only just escaped the wrath of the rioting students in Paris recently: he was recognised, forced to abandon his car and sprint-he is a jogger of course-for shelter to the house of his friend the painter Dubuffet). Two of Alberti's books are to be published shortly in French: one is a major collection of his poems, the other his wonderful book of memoirs.

ANDREI VOZNESENSKY, the Russian poet, is receiving the Order of the Red Flag by order of the Supreme Soviet on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday. He received the State Prize when he was 45, back in 1978. He cannot be the same Voznesensky who troubled the authorities two decades ago. The poet of Antiworlds has vanished.

In Spain writers are much troubled by a new law covering 'intellectual property'. It seems to imply rather more than copyright, and authors are worried that a conspiracy of publishers and editors is shaping to deprive them of their rightful due. The Minister of Culture, Jaime Salinas, has made many soothing noises. 'One must find a formula so that publishers cannot make traps, a formula which will give ample guarantees to the writer.' The issue is at such a level of abstraction that it is hardly surprising that authors are troubled.

RENE CHAR has been admitted to the Pléiade: his complete works (1,366 pages at 268 F) have been issued in the famous Gallimard series with huge fanfares in le Monde ('Eulogy of the unreadable') and elsewhere. Words know about us things we do not know about ourselves', he wrote.

TONY HARRISON has been awarded the first European Poetry Translation Prize for his Oresteia. It was a popular choice, setting a high standard for this ambitious new prize to be awarded every other year.

In its Spring 1983 number (its seventh issue) the magazine GRAND STREET- already established as one of the best independent American literary journals- celebrates the Greek poet C. P. CAVAFY on the fiftieth anniversary of his death with a fine translation by James Merrill of his only known prose work, 'In Broad Daylight', essays, and an album of photographs of this most private of men. PNR marks the anniversary by publishing the letters of E. M. Forster to Cavafy's first English translator, and by re-publishing some of those early translations.

Grand Street, edited by Ben Sonnenberg, is published quarterly at 820.00 per annum: 50 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y. 10024. Highly recommended.

September 1985 will be the centenary of the birth of D. H. LAWRENCE. Pressure is mounting for a plaque to be erected in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey to commemorate a writer of whom it is customary to say that 'he has never had his due as a poet'. In order to achieve the objective of a memorial plaque, it appears that democratic pressure must be exerted, and we are told that aficionados should pester the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Doctor Edward Carpenter, at The Deanery, Westminster Abbey, London SW1P 3PA. A courteous letter with multiple or single signatures seems to be the form. I am not informed whether money should be sent. Further information about this and other events connected with the centenary can be obtained from Kevin West, D. H. Lawrence Centenary Festival Director, The Craft Workshops, 20 Mansfield Road, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire NG16 3AQ.

One of the best poetry bookshops in London-DUCK SOUP, late of Lamb's Conduit Passage-has had to move and, for the time being at least, has no shop-front. It is, however, supplying books to mail order customers from its excellent stock. Nick Kimberley/Duck Soup can be found at 14, Peto Place, London N.W.1. The Duck Soup mailing list is worth being on. Few British booksellers have so wide a range of poetry publications from the UK and abroad, or so comprehensive a selection of the books from the small presses.

THE MANY REVIEW announces itself as a new magazine devoted primarily to criticism on contemporary poetry, but promising activity in related areas. It is edited 'in the conviction that some of the most interesting and innovative poetry being written now still remains largely outside the dialogue established in the main literary reviews', and certainly the prospectus for the first issue promises assessments of writers and works which can hardly be said to be in general currency. One can only hope that in the context of the magazine the editors (who are not named on the press handout) will find room for original work as well. THE MANY REVIEW, published twice yearly by The Many Press, costs £2.50 post free from 15 Norcott Road, London N16 7BJ. Cheques made out to The Many Press, please.

The Association for the Teaching of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literature announces the launching of a new journal, WASAFIRI. Volume One, Number One, currently in preparation, will be published in September and launched at the sixth annual conference at the University of Kent. Subscriptions are invited at £3 per issue or £5 per annum to S. Nasta, First Floor Flat, 107 Regent's Park Road, London NW1, or to Robert Fraser, Flat 7, 39 The Gardens, London SE 22. The editors are looking for contributions-essays on 'Approaches to Teaching', critical articles, reviews, poetry and prose.

A DICTIONARY OF NEWFOUNDLAND ENGLISH, listing thousands of words and phrases that reflect the rich linguistic heritage of Canada's highly distinctive Tenth Province, has just been published by the University of Toronto Press. The dictionary, compiled over a twenty-year period by three scholars from Newfoundland and Britain, casts much light on the language of western Britain and Ireland, whence the early settlers of Newfoundland came in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Isolated as Newfoundland was for many generations from the North American mainstream, the old language remained remarkably intact, indeed enriched by the exigencies of life close to sea and soil. Its conspicuous presence in this new volume of more than seven hundred pages affords great opportunities to students of English speech as it was before the blight of standardization descended. The book, available in Britain from the University of Toronto Press, 37 Dover Street, London W1, is a major achievement of lexicography, its teeming double columns systematically documenting how 'the dialect of the tribe' feasted off the unrelenting harshness of a wild and remote environment. (C. J. Fox)

CHARLES JOHNSTON'S 'The Hussar's Story' (PNR 32) is appearing in his latest 'annual', The Irish Lights, to be published by The Bodley Head in September. The title poem has nothing to do with Ireland as such; it is an autobiographical piece. Other poems in this section outline the story of a life through a series of character-sketches: there are, besides the Hussar, two schoolmasters, an old-fashioned British proconsul, and an eminent literary critic. The book contains translations of Lorca, and Lermontov's Tambov Lady, a coruscating novella written in Pushkin's Eugene Onegin metre, and so far unknown to English readers.

This item is taken from PN Review 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.



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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