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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 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 1983.

News & Notes
The GOETHE PREIS, one of the most valuable of the German annual literary prizes, awarded in Goethe's birthplace, Frankfurt, is to be given to ERNST JUNGER, and a loud controversy has blown up as a result. The row is, of course, political, and the most vociferous critics are among the Social Democratic opposition on Frankfurt's city council. Jünger, who is 87, was in the 1920s an advocate of German nationalism, but he later antagonised the Nazis with books such as the anti-totalitarian On the Marble Cliffs (1939), and he is said to have been indirectly involved in the officers' plot to kill Hitler. The Social Democratic spokeswoman, Frolinde Balser, was concerned 'about the impact that this award will have on young people in our country and on re-emerging subconscious trends towards xenophobia, anti-Semitism and ultra-nationalism.' The matter of the quality of Jünger's work has been completely obscured.

One of Italy's veteran men of letters, GIUSEPPE PREZZOLINI, died on 16 July. He celebrated his 100th birthday in January (see PNR 28, 'Letter from Florence'). His most notable work was as editor of La Voce (1908-1916) which, along with the other Florentine review, Lacerba, launched Futurism upon Italy and the world.
(N. S. Thompson)

The South Korean poet KIM CHI HA has had his latest poems banned. His publisher has been arrested. He is perhaps the most celebrated poet and political prisoner in South Korea. He has been arrested many times, sentenced to death, and was finally released in 1980 in a general amnesty. The June publication of his poems was a public event: the book sold rapidly. Now it is banned and three persons responsible for publication have been arrested: the editor, the publisher and the treasurer of the publishing house. Sources in Japan say that the collection of lyrics included some work going back twenty years. 6000 copies were confiscated and destroyed.
(Index LHT 17)

KENNETH REXROTH died on 6 June at the age of 76. Born in Indiana, he left school when he was thirteen, taking a variety of (generally rough) jobs. In the 1920s he moved to San Francisco and was central to many of the West Coast 'movements', including the 1950s Beats Movement. He was a promoter of the jazz and poetry combination which found its way into Britain in the early 1960s. A jack of all arts, he painted, too. He was a fine translator and an unpredictable critic, with a distinctive perspective on American, European and Oriental poetry.

NISHIWAKI JUNZABURO, the Japanese poet, died in his hometime of Ojiya on 5 June. He was born in 1894 and was the most cosmopolitan of modern Japanese poets. A brilliant linguist, he wrote poetry in English and French as well as in Japanese, and the thesis he wrote for graduation from Keio University was in Latin.

In 1922 he came to England, entering New College, Oxford, in 1923. He became interested in the poetry of Eliot and Pound who-with the French Surrealists-he regarded as his spiritual contemporaries. One of his English poems, 'A Kensington Idyll', was published, with a poem of Eliot's, in Chapbook 39 in 1924. His collected English poems appeared in London in 1925. He returned to Japan and his old University as Professor of English, began writing criticism, and translated French poetry and English-including passages from Paradise Lost. In 1928 he founded the first Japanese modernistic literary magazine. His work continued throughout the 1930s. During the war, subjected as all poets were to considerable pressure, he published little, but after the war he began to issue new work and translations, including in 1952 a version of The Waste Land. Pound, reading one of his English poems in 1956, wrote that 'Junzaburo has a more vital English than any I have seen for some time'. In 1963 Junzaburo's collected poems were published.
(TJGH)

ROMAN JAKOBSON died on 18 July at the age of 85. He was born in 1896 in Moscow and studied Oriental Languages at Moscow University, founding in 1916 the Moscow Linguistic Circle. Profoundly influenced by the vital movements in the arts at that period, he began to develop his distinctive and influential ideas about language and phonology, moving to Prague in 1920 (founding the Prague Linguistic Circle) and to Brno in 1933. During the war in Scandinavia, and later in Paris and at Harvard and M.I.T., he continued his work in a diversity of fields -and it is the diversity of his concerns that in part accounts for the extent of his influence and the wide pertinence of his work, not least for poets and critics. Grammatical analysis, phonology, the nature of speech, structuralist poetics, folklore-all came within his range of intimate knowledge. Geoffrey Samson has written of the unifying element in Jakobson's work: 'the notion that abstract structural invariants underlie the superficial diversity of cultural products (such as languages and poetic genres)'.

The CAMBRIDGE POETRY FESTIVAL for 1983 is taking distinctive shape. The poets we can expect to hear from abroad include Czeslaw Milosz, Ivan V. Lalic, Miroslav Holub, Franco Fortini and Vittorio Sereni. The organisers have chosen imaginatively the British participants, too -including a number of excellent writers -many of them young-whose work it will be interesting to hear in so distinguished a context. Tony Harrison, John Ash, Roy Fisher, Jeremy Hooker, Mebdh McGuckian, Christopher Middleton, James Berry and Clive Wilmer are among them. Iain Crichton Smith, too, will feature, and judging from his reading on the 'fringe' of the last Festival, his appearance in 1983 will be a clear highlight.

A lavish invitation to the 'World Congress on Sponsorship of Sport and the Arts' has reached us. The Congress takes place in November at the Barbican Centre. Supported (one assumes with financial aid) by-among others-the Sports Council, the Arts Council, the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and several American and European Sporting and Arting Councils, Alliances, Committees and Associations, it stretches over three days and includes a five minute opening address by Paul Channon, Minister for the Arts, followed by various discussion panels with titles such as 'The Polemics of Sponsorship', 'A World Roundup- How Much, From Whom and To Whom', 'The Future of Leisure, Cause & Effect', thirty-minute 'Open Forums' and so on. The whole affair ends with a 'Tasting of English Wines hosted by Whitbread and Lunch at the Porter Tun Room'. Tickets for the Great Dinner on 4 November cost £28.75 per person. Reser-vations 'per delegate inclusive of VAT' cost £345.00. How many members of the British 'Arts Community' will be able to attend, and what possible objective can such a conflated and inflated jamboree serve? The cost of sending two delegates would be enough to publish at least a handsome book, perhaps rather more. Certainly information about patronage of various forms should be circulated, but at this cost and in this form few but the best-heeled plutocrats of the Arts world will attain wisdom.

We received a press release from Savoy Editions Ltd reporting that their Director was imprisoned on 24 May, convicted under the Obscene Publications Act for having for gain books found to be obscene. The publisher had sought both himself and through his solicitor guidance on what material would be regarded as obscene. The Judge reported that the one way to be certain not to commit the offence was not to make a living selling literature that could possibly be obscene. The case reveals once again the inadequacy of the Act.

A highly informative illustrated catalogue of possibly the richest private collection of HENRY MILLER has just been issued by a California bookshop. The aim was to 'create a bibliographical cross-breed that will work for you whether you are a buyer, a seller, a bibliographer, or even a reader', writes the cataloguer, Lee G. Campbell, in introducing this copiously annotated sale listing of 533 items. 'The Dr James F. O'Roark Collection' includes a huge array of first editions and among many curios a 1938 economic treatise by Miller, Money and How It Gets Money, prompted by Pound and dedicated to him. The book section contains 313 items, and there are also letters, manuscripts, magazine appearances, translations of Miller into 18 languages, etc. Available from 'Joseph the Provider', 903 State Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101, USA.
(C. J. Fox)

OTHER POETRY (£3.00 p.a. c/o Evangeline Paterson, 2 Stoneygate Ave., Leicester LE2 3HE) includes in its eighth issue an interesting range of new writing in an unfussy and readable format. Especially attractive are the contributions from R. G. Partridge, Mahendra Solanki and Joe Goddard. OTHER POETRY has become one of the few discriminating avenues open to new poets, and though it has its quota of 'identikit poems', the general standard is high.

MANDEVILLE PRESS (2 Taylor's Hill, Hitchin, Herts. SG4 9AD) has been in action again and produced a wealth of attractive booklets. The Mandeville House Style is now clearly established: careful, sometimes fastidious verse, crafted, with a strong sense of place, visualised-low-key and unhectoring, inviting rather than demanding attention. Best among the new booklets are Neil Curry's, Bernard Bergonzi's and John Gohorry's. It is an essential precaution for anyone interested in the independent small presses to have themselves put on the Mandeville Mailing List. As well as good poetry they can expect very attractive printing and design.

REDCLIFFE POETRY, whose activities were described in PNR 28, has announced its National Poetry Competition with prize money of £350.00. It hardly competes with the Pools Win offered by some of its competitors, but it seems to have as its objective not the raising of funds so much as the finding of poets for the magazine The Present Tense, edited by Michael Abbott, and for the new Red-cliffe Poetry Books series, also under his editorship. Entry forms from 14 Dowry Street, Bristol BS8 4SH. The judges are David Wright and the ubiquitous Andrew Motion.

The SCHOOLS' POETRY ASSOCIATION was established in May. In a kind of Manifesto entitled 'Teachers as Crooks', David Orme, the Secretary of the Association (Twyford School, Twyford, Winchester, Hants SO21 1NW) wrote in a spirit that will be readily understood by readers of PNR. ' "There is no legal way to teach contemporary poetry in schools." Really contemporary, that is; for teachers who wish to concentrate their teaching on the modern "classics" of Hughes or Heaney or Larkin there is no problem, as these poems feature in many popular anthologies. But what of the teacher who wishes to introduce his students to a poem from a new collection, or from a poetry magazine? One copy is of little use for a college seminar or for a sixth-form group of twelve; it is of even less use to an "O" level group of thirty. He could, of course, order twelve or thirty copies of the publication concerned (which would probably absorb a significant proportion of his new book allowance for the year-for one poem). Alternatively, he could write to the publishers for permission to reproduce, permission that might arrive, with any luck, before the end of term.' Realistically, Mr Orme states that few teachers will do either. They will, instead, photocopy the poem or copy it out and run it on the spirit duplicator. Thus, 'for the best possible reasons, teachers become crooks'.

The Schools' Poetry Association hopes to concern itself with this problem by producing 'copy-it-yourself' teaching materials and by other means. It is also producing a workshop journal, 'Schools' Poetry Review'- a place where 'teachers can share experiences of teaching poetry in Junior and Secondary Schools and beyond'.

The Association is already active in many schools. The essential objective as outlined by Mr Orme is this: 'let us improve the art of poetry teaching everywhere, by encouraging research, passing on good practice and by producing worthwhile materials. At its best the teaching of poetry is extraordinarily effective and enriching. At its worst it starts with souped up jingles and ends with watered down Leavis and a magic formula for Lit. Crit., with, in passing, demands for creative writing: "Imagine you are being eaten alive by a polar bear", or some other everyday emergency.' What sets the Association apart from many initiatives is that it places a proper stress on reading, avoiding the heresy of Creative Writing and the gulch of Dry Criticism. If stress falls a little squarely on the 'instant insistent Now', it at least means that a number of people-teachers and others- are reading contemporary poetry and appreciate the art as a living one without, one hopes, losing a sense (or failing to impart a sense) of the traditions that enable the contemporary poet to write. The Association deserves the support of publishers and of the interested public.

On Bloomsday (June 16) 1982, an event took place in Dublin that received scant attention: the key to number 35 North Gt. Georges Street, a five-storey Georgian house in a glorious state of disrepair, was handed over to David Norris by Dublin Corporation. This building, when refurbished (at a cost of some two hundred thousand pounds) will be the headquarters of the Joyce Institute and will also house a National Poetry Centre. A mere handful of people heard David Norris outline the plans for the building; with his customary eloquence and undiminished enthusiasm he announced, from the steps, his dream of eventually seeing this building become a nerve-centre for cultural activities in Dublin. The crowds were elsewhere for, among other Bloomsday celebrations, pints of Guinness were being sold for about 2p and Molly Bloom was flaunting her way through the streets in a vintage car. Suddenly, a young Dublin mod strode angrily to the people outside number 35 and shouted: 'Yiz are openin' up a buildin' to honour a dead artist, but what are yiz doin' to help the livin' artists,' and without waiting for a reply, he vanished. In fact, number 35 will eventually become an important centre for living artists. As well as a Joyce library and offices for the Joyce Institute, there will be a brass band (very meaningful to the evening streets of Dublin) in the basement (with ceiling suitably sound-proofed) and the poetry centre.
(John F. Deane)

This item is taken from PN Review 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 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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