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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 25, Volume 8 Number 5, May - June 1982.

News & Notes
Yehuda Amichai and Amir Gilboa this year received their country's highest honour, the Israel Prize. Gilboa, born in 1917, is a native of Razywilow in the Ukraine. He went to Palestine in 1937 as an illegal immigrant, joining the Jewish Brigade in 1942. Many of the poems in his early books are concerned with his war-time experiences in Egypt, North Africa and Italy. He is consistently original and experimental, bringing new techniques and colloquial diction into traditional contexts. His collection of poems in English translation, The Light of Lost Suns, was published in New York in 1979. Yehuda Amichai is probably better-known in England than Gilboa. He has often read in this country and his Selected Poems were published in 1971 by Penguin Books-followed by other collections from Oxford.

Seven years Gilboa's junior, he is a native of Würzburg. He arrived in Jerusalem with his family in 1936 and, like Gilboa, served in the Jewish Brigade and was an infantryman in the War of Independence. The innovations of his work are of particular interest to English readers because they bear so closely upon developments in British poetry from which he has learned (and which in some notable instances has learned from him). The work of both poets is represented in T. Carmi's extraordinary 608 page new anthology, Hebrew Verse, published by Penguin Books and reviewed elsewhere in this issue.

Index on Censorship, a brave and far-sighted journal, is celebrating its tenth birthday with considerable attention in the press. Certainly its achievement has been considerable in keeping open for writers in darker lands the opportunity of publication and-albeit obliquely-opposition. Much of the information on writers in difficulty reported in these columns comes from Index sources. Among their most important services in their first decade have been: their inside account of procedures followed in press reporting of affairs in Northern Ireland; first extensive coverage of Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov; first detailed coverage of repression in Iran (under the Shah); David Astor's press-stopping article on 'Self-Censorship in the British Press'; first publication of the Polish literary journal Zapis (15 issues to date); first English publication of the Chinese 'Human Rights Manifesto'; and close attention to events in Latin America. In presenting the works of writers as well as news of their conditions, Index has become valuable as a leading promoter of new writing as well. In its even-handed approach it has not overlooked England and Ireland. Perhaps in its eleventh year it will take up the case of Ian Hamilton Finlay, the Scottish poet.

D. J. Enright is the recipient of this year's Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He is 61. He has taught widely at home and abroad (at present he is an Honorary Professor of English at the University of Warwick and a director of Chatto & Win-dus, where he takes responsibility for the poetry list). He prepared the controversial Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse and has recently published his Collected Poems.

The Swiss author and former international diplomat Albert Cohen died on 17 October at the age of 86. Said by some to be the greatest Jewish writer of his age, and even claimed by a few as the greatest French-speaking writer too, he was born in Corfu but fled with his family to Marseille when he was only five. Educated in France and Switzerland, he went on to work for various international organizations, including the International Labour Office and the United Nations, where he was particularly concerned with the refugee problem after the Second World War. His first novel, Solal (1930), did not attract much attention; but when, at the age of 73, he published the 800 page novel Belle du Seigneur, he received the Grand Prix du Roman from the French Academy-and the book was a popular as well as a critical success. He published an early volume of poems, Paroles juives (1921) and a play, Ezéchil, performed at the Comédie Française in the 1930s. (Vivienne Menkes)

The Pingaud-Barreau Commission, set up by the French Minister of Culture to study 'books and Reading', published its preliminary report in October. The fifty proposals it puts forward, mainly designed to improve the lot of publishers, authors, booksellers and distributors, include the removal of tax liability on France's many literary prizes, permission for authors to spread royalty payments over several years for tax purposes, and a reduction of VAT on books from 7% to 4%. It is due to publish a further report covering all aspects of the book trade and public libraries on 1 January 1982. (Vivienne Menkes)

On 23 October Martin Walser, the German novelist and essayist, received the Georg Büichner Preis. This award, one of the most prestigious the German literary establishment confers and also one of the most valuable (DM 20,000), is presented annually by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung to honour a writer's complete work. Previous recipients include Böll and Frisch, Wolfgang Koeppen and Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and Christa Wolff. Delivering the citation in Darmstadt (in the presence of President Carstens, who is keeping up the interest in literary affairs previously seen in Heinemann and Scheel), Peter Hamm stressed Walser's human documentation of the life of the lower middle class in post-War Germany. In his reply, Walser developed a theme seen in Büchner's story Lenz, the horror that is in a world view conceived without God. While suggesting that Büchner was at fault in failing to create a new god to fill the void, he took as his subject what he-Walser-sees as a parallel situation in Germany today: the Germans, he claimed, have developed a Kultur der Teilnahmslosigkeit, a culture whose very foundation is uncaring apathy and indifference, a culture unstrengthened in fibre by the living presence of a god. In expressing his deep concern about this development, Walser was spelling out much that is already inherent in his life's work. (Michael Hulse)

Salamander Press (Tom Fenton, 73 Morningside Park, Edinburgh EH10 SEZ) has announced part of its forthcoming list. This includes Andrew Motion's Independence, a narrative poem set in India (£5.00/ £2.50). Also projected is Adrian Mitchell's adaptation of Calderon's The Mayor of Zalamea-the text of the successful National Theatre production. John Fuller's collection Waiting for the Music and Margaret Gardiner's memoir of Barbara Hepworth are also promised. A few copies remain of Salamander's second printing of James Fenton's outstanding poem A German Requiem. It is to be hoped that this imprint-which produces such handsome and worthwhile books- will soon do more of Fenton's poetry.

The 150th anniversary of the death of Goethe is being anticipated in various ways. Suhrkamp Verlag of Frankfurt are sponsoring a major project of Goethe translations into English, and the English Goethe Society is in 1982 offering a £100 prize for the best translation into English verse of three of Goethe's poems. Michael Hamburger-who might be expected to win hands down-is one of the judges (D. J. Enright and B. A. Rowley are the others). (Details of the competition from F. M. Fowler, Department of German, Queen Mary College, Mile End Road, London El - enclosing an s.a.e.)

In New York Nadine Gordimer, the South African novelist, and Milan Kundera, the Czech novelist and playwright now living in France, were awarded Common Wealth Distinguished Service Awards in Literature (and $11,000). The awards are for writers who have produced a distinguished oeuvre and are deemed likely to continue to make an important contribution in the republic of letters.

Anvil Press Poetry have issued a catalogue and stocklist 'to March 1982' which is characteristically broad and distinguished in scope. Among the titles newly published and projected are the Selected Poems of Odysseus Elytis, Michael Hamburger's An Unofficial Rilke, Harry Guest's excellent translations of Victor Hugo, The Works of Love by Ivan Lalic -the Yugoslav poet who is coming to be recognised as a major European figure-; new collections by Peter Levi (Private Ground, one of his most original productions to date), and Thomas McCarthy; translations of the Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz; and a re-issue of Rossetti's The Early Italian Poets edited by Sally Purcell. Andrew Waterman's anthology, The Poetry of Chess, will be reviewed in PNR by George Steiner. It is possible to 'subscribe' to Anvil Press and get price reductions and a copy of Alan Myers's translation of Joseph Brodsky's poem reflecting on events in Afghanistan, Verses on the Winter Campaign, free. Write to Anvil Press Poetry, 69 King George Street, London SE10 8PX, for details.

Ceolfrith Press, under the new administration of Michael Farley, has resumed its publishing enterprise with projects in the Ceolfrith Northern Poets series (work by Richard Kell, Geoffrey Adkins, Samuel Laycock, John Gurney and Nicki Jackow-ska). It is to be hoped that the Poets and Artists series, in which a selection of the work of a single poet was matched with the work of a graphic artist, will continue -several of the publications in that series were particularly attractive.

This item is taken from PN Review 25, Volume 8 Number 5, May - June 1982.



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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