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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 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.

News & Notes
A new annual magazine of poetry and prose has come from Wales, SCINTILLA, edited by Anne Cluysenaar and dedicated to developing 'themes dear to the Breconshire writers Henry and Thomas Vaughan'. Published by the Usk Valley Vaughan Association (£6.95 from Little Wentwood Farm, Llantrisant, Usk, Gwent NP5 1ND), and supported by the Arts Council of Wales and the University of Wales, Cardiff, it is not only a handsome production but, in contents, one of the most remarkable new arrivals on the Welsh literary scene, bringing together in its first issue excellent poetry by Gwyneth Lewis, Robert Minhinnick, Ruth Bidgood and others and some extremely interesting prose, especially that by R.S. Thomas and Anne Cluysenaar. The interest in hermeticism might lead one at first to believe that Temenos has resurrected, but no, the points of reference, especially in the seventeenth century, are more fixed, and poetic and critical concerns less wild and roving.

In September the POETRY SCHOOL was established in London. Run from six venues across London, the School offers classes, workshops, 'one to one' tutorials and events; the course runs over thirty weeks with courses in Versification (Mimi Khalvati), Image-Making (Pascale Petit), 'Heaney to Homer and Back' (Graham Fawcett). Other poets are involved: Jane Duran, Susan Wicks, Martyn Crucefix, Alison Fell, Judith Kazantsis and Myra Schneider among them. Information is available from The Poetry School, 130C Evering Road, London N16 7BD.

The vast BOOK SHED opposite Victoria Station (5-11 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LS) is now one of the leading purveyors of poetry in the capital, with a major poetry initiative currently in progress. Warren Stutely, whose initiative it has been to build up the poetry resources of this central bookshop with the amazingly long opening hours, realises that poetry readers want the widest possible range, and he provides it.

The Library Association Record carried a letter (quoted in the Bookseller of 15 August) from Eileen Davies of Oxford about St Columba and 'one of the earliest recorded copyright disputes'. In Ireland Columba was a pupil of Finnian. One day he copied a manuscript belonging to Finnian without Finnian's permission or knowledge. Finnian was upset and King Diarmid decided in his favour. Columba took up arms, starting 'a rather bloody war'. The church turned against him and so in 563 he sailed to Scotland and founded the monastery of Iona. 'A patron saint for photocopiers?' she proposes.

The poet EDWIN BROCK died in September, shortly before his seventieth birthday. He 'emerged' as a poet when it was disclosed in 1959 in the Daily Express that PC 258, the south-London bobby, wrote verses, and he was naturally reprimanded for letting this particular aberration out of the bag without going through the appropriate channels. He was already publishing poems. His first collection appeared in the year he was unmasked, An Attempt at Exorcism, and in a sense this is what all his books are, marked by a vulnerable candour and brushed by the wing of Dylan Thomas. After six years as a humble constable he joined the advertising firm Ogilvy and Mather and edited poetry for Martin Bax's magazine Ambit. His principal readership was in the United States, where his work was published by New Directions. Five Ways to Kill a Man: New and Selected Poems, appeared in 1990.

KOI NAGATA, the 97 year old haiku poet, artist and essayist, died in August. James Kirkup in the Independent obituary translates Nagata's account of how he survived the 1995 Kobe earthquake. he had gone to the toilet which was within a solidly-built area. The house collapsed around it. 'I tried to attract attention by banging the washbasin with a yagumashi [a copper tea-ceremony utensil]. It was quite fun, banging away like that - kankara kan! kankara kan! It sounded like a Buddhist chant - Nammyohorengekkyo and I was rescued by a delivery boy from the sake shop next door.' At one time ten million Japanese were said to be haiku-writers. The numbers are declining, and - Kirkup reports - Nagata's death has been taken as symbolic of the fading of this traditional activity.

The Flemish poet and essayist HERMAN DE CONNICK died suddenly this spring at the age of 53. He was participating in he Duplo Caminho literary festival in Lisbon. He was identified with the Pop-influenced new Realist movement and was a witty and sensuous writer. His final collection, Finger-drawings on the Window, appeared this autumn. (Yann Lovelock)

C. O. JELLEMA was awarded the Adriaan Roland-Holst medal, a triennial prize. Jellema is noted for his formalism and especially as a writer of sonnets. The Dutch writer JUDITH HERZBERG received this year's P.C. Hooft Prize, one of the most prestigious in the Netherlands. (Yann Lovelock)

Poet, anthologist and teacher ROBIN SKELTON in August at the age of 71. The Yorkshire-born Canadian poet (he emigrated in mid career) is best remembered for his Penguin Poetry of the Thirties. He served other poets well, notably David Gascoyne, W.S. Graham and others of the 'occluded '30s'. A great enabler, he set up the Malahat Review in Canada and the creative writing department of the University of Victoria, British Columbia. His own poetry, after he left Britain, lost its audience here, but his presence in and contribution to Canadian letters will prove durable.

BARONESS JAMES OF HOLLAND PARK has been elected to succeed Sir Victor Pritchett as President of the Society of Authors.

This item is taken from PN Review 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.



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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