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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 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

News & Notes


G. S. FRASER, the poet and critic, died in January 1980 at the age of sixty-four. Initially, he will be remembered as a poet whose lyricism found its first mature expression in the 1940s. Re-assessment will show that all the aspects of his work-wartime poet, critic and, in later years, Reader in Poetry at Leicester University-tend towards what he saw as his central task: healing by the therapy of words 'the inner fragmentation that afflicts us all'. One of his last books-a characteristically generous collection, published by his University-was entitled Essays on Twentieth-century Poets. As a young man he wrote the following lines:


Oh, you, at least may you have a long summer.
Oh, let the way to your death at least be long.
Choose the circuitous way, and not like me
The green plants grow too white in their grey cellar,
And be for me, when my frail fingers snap
At last, the last of many fraying threads,
A true memorial, a juster image,
On my white screen a huge, projected shadow,
The tall, the lonely, and the too much loved;
So from my grave may green fulfilment grow,
My ghost find peace in its authentic hero. (JC-K)


The third international LANCASTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL is taking place in the week 17-24 May. This year's participants include Lillian Hellman, John Updike, Stan Barstow and David Edgar, among others. Children's writers, science-fiction writers, workshops and exhibitions are another inevitable feature. The advance publicity distinguishes between Poets (including Dannie Abse, Elizabeth Jennings and D. M. Thomas) and Ulster Poets (Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, John Montague). Abigail Mozley, Eva Figes and Dinah Livingstone are the judges of this year's festival POETRY COMPETITION on the theme: 'Women-their world'. The £250 prize money will be scattered to 'about a dozen' winners. Anyone interested must send a £1.00 fee and up to three entries and a self-addressed envelope to Box 80, St Leonard's House, St Leonardgate, Lancaster, by 14 March. Be careful to check your category first, since-though 'the competition is open to anyone living in the UK'-`the organisers expect the majority of entries to come from women'. The Festival organisers may have developed this sexist competition in order to make up for the sexual imbalance in the rest of the programme.

The Arts Council (105 Piccadilly) opens its doors on 11 March for a LITERATURE FORUM. The title is misleading since the main subject will, no doubt, be MONEY, and not LITERATURE. This meeting, a kind of oblique sequel to the inconclusive 'Funding of Literature' discussion at the National Poetry Centre in January, is planned as a formal affair-all questions to the Panel (it is, indeed, the Literature Panel that will be on show) must be submitted by 25 February which is also the last official date for ticket applications. Seating will be limited. Sir Roy Shaw will be in the Chair, while Melvyn Bragg (Literature Panel Chairman) and Charles Osborne (Literature Director) are grilled. Curtain up: 6:00PM. Apply for tickets to Sue Rose, Press Officer, Arts Council, 105 Piccadilly, London W1V 0AU.

The LONDON FESTIVAL OF THE IRISH ARTS is taking place from 1 February to March 15. Subtitled 'A Sense of Ireland', the Festival aims to present 'the best of the Irish Arts, North and South, in a major international context' and is divided (like Gaul and unlike Ireland) into three parts: lectures on modern Irish writers by critics with academic affiliations (Seamus Deane on Thomas Kinsella, Christopher Ricks on Seamus Heaney); performances of literary work with music; and nearly forty poetry readings. Forty poetry readings! That's a high incidence, at least statistically, of poets! Those it will be a special treat to hear include Richard Murphy, Thomas Kinsella, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and John Montague. An enormous range of-one supposes-young poets is featured. The organizers aim to 'demonstrate the depth and strength of Ireland's heritage and contemporary culture'. The motives are mixed, of course: in part an attempt to 'make a significant contribution' (ah, the language of bureaucracy!) `to improving understanding and relations between the people of these islands'. Poetry and Public Relations-but also no doubt a genuine attempt to bring together a living anthology for the London audiences. Further information from the National Poetry Centre, 21 Earl's Court Square, London SW 5.

The fourth ANGLO-FRENCH POETRY FESTIVAL's Translation Conference took place in Paris on 15-17 November last year. Among those attending the conference from France, Canada, the USA and Britain, were David Gascoyne, Michael Hamburger, Val Warner, Georges Belmont, Michel Deguy, Robert Cordier, Kenneth White and Michel Bernardy. Discussion of the problems of translation was supplemented with practical work; 'unseen' translation sessions and the comparison of work done by the poets before the conference. Roger Garfitt took part in the theoretical and practical discussions and writes: 'One subject that caught everybody's interest was the influence of translated poetry on the poetry of another country. It became apparent that translation is often a guerilla activity, an attempt to revolutionise the poetry of one's own culture by importing new forms and energies from abroad. . . French poets are translating a great deal of English and particularly American poetry at the moment in a deliberate attempt to break up the rigid syntax of French and render their own language more open and simple, and this linguistic concern means that French poets are now in turn being translated into English by poets who are enquiring into English syntax.'

The publication of the first number of URBI by the Centre de Recherche d'Urbanisme (64 rue de la Fédération, 75015 Paris) is an event less foreign to English poetry than might initially appear. URBI is announced as a periodical concerned with the 'arts, history and ethnology of towns'. Its first number begins with a magisterial essay by the Annales historian Fernand Braudel on the development of a 'world economy' in European towns and states between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries; it continues with Stephen Bann's evocation of 'The Roman and the Dutch landscape in England' and with a connected sequence on 'the aristocracy and towns' which includes David Cannadine's study of the development of English seaside towns in the nineteenth century. The intention is not to produce an academic review specialising in urban problems, but to stimulate discussion on the very varied meanings which we attach to the notion of the town-and of 'landscape'-with special reference to poetry and literature in general. Among the editorial advisers of URBI are the French historians Fernand Braudel, Philippe Ariès and Michel Foucault, the English historians Eric Hobsbawm and Theodore Zeldin, the French Professor of Architecture Bernard Lassus, and the English sociologist Ray Pahl. A future issue on the place which the image of the town occupies in English poetry and literature is planned. (SB)

A L'ECART (`Apart') is a new magazine with a curious policy: it will publish only writers and subjects that are, in the editors' view, unknown or neglected. The tone will be strictly unfashionable. An early number will be devoted to the minor poet and minor diplomat, the brilliant J-M Levet (1874-1906) who died young of consumption. He sent back from his missions abroad what he called 'Cartes Postales'. The one from Argentina relates how the Consul General of France at La Plata is quite unable to be distracted from his spleen. Neither the blandishments of the nicest Argentinians nor high jinks on the Pampas can cheer the fellow up. The story goes that, following an earlier disappointment in love, he succumbed to the regrettable habit of smoking opium and soon his only pastime was to 'gallop across our bitter plains, half in love with the wild life of the gaucho-then, returning to his consular palace, wrap sadness around him like a poncho'. Anyone attracted to M. Levet and others like him should subscribe (120 frs. for four issues) to Editions 'A'L'Ecart', 80 rue Docteur Thomas, 51100-Reims, France. (DA)

Fierce debate has broken out among German writers following the publication of a series of articles in Die Zeit last October by Fritz J. Raddatz, the magazine's literary director. Raddatz, himself a refugee from East Germany, launched an attack on those German writers who during the last war continued to live and work under the Nazi regime. Günther Eich, Peter Huchel and Wolfgang Koeppen all appear on Raddatz's black list of 'collaborators'. Even some of Raddatz's close colleagues on Die Zeit have faulted his facts, and criticism of the articles has come from many other sources, including the playwright Rolf Hoch-huth and the poet and novelist Günther Grass. Raddatz, however, insists that every creative act is a political act, to work under tyranny is to work with it, and other savagely reductive maxims. Marion Donhoff, another writer for Die Zeit (and possible SPD candidate for the Presidency) has argued that art is vital in any state, 'there is no duty to keep silent and no right to stunt one's creative powers . . . there is no duty to emigrate either'. German writers-perhaps especially those on the left-are extremely sceptical of Raddatz's blacklists. They are currently re-evaluating the work of writers such as Benn who-at the opposite pole from Brecht-provides, by his very difference (ideological, artistic, technical) a corrective model to the oversimplifications of left and right.

Photograph of Nicholas BornThe distinguished German novelist and poet NICHOLAS BORN died of cancer in December, aged forty-two. He was a scientist by training but became a professional writer after working in various manual and clerical jobs. His published work includes three books of poetry, a book for children and three novels, the latest of which, Die Falschung, appeared two months before his death. Nicholas Born was also well-known for his translations of American poetry.

The first award of the new ALFRED DOBLIN PRIZE- founded and endowed by Günther Grass-took place at the Literarisches Colloquium, Berlin, on 8 November 1979. The recipient was the Swiss novelist Gerold Späth, who read from his work at the Berlin Academy of Arts. The Foundation also instituted readings by other authors in connection with the prize- giving on lines reminsicent of the now defunct 'Gruppe 47' and in the presence of its chief coordinator, Hans Werner Richter, as well as of Günther Grass. (MH)

An ambitious Spanish/English magazine, ECUATORIAL, has recently published its second number. Included in its pages is work by Cesar Vallejo, John Ashbery, Mario Satz, Luis Cernuda, Robert Creeley, etc, with facing translations. The translators keep a low profile, their names or initials occasionally are to be found only on the contents page. Future issues will include work by Octavio Paz, Lorca and Djuna Barnes. Subscriptions: £2.40 per annum (including p&p) to Ecuatorial, King's College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS.

Enthusiasts for ESPERANTO will welcome the work of Kris Long. He is translating modern English and Polish poetry into Esperanto. He has published selections from Hopkins, Edward Thomas, Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens and is now working on the poetry of Ivor Gurney, C. H. Sisson, Czeslaw Milosz, Boleslaw Lesmian, Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, Mieczyslaw Jastrun and C. K. Norwid. Kris Long would appreciate criticism and help from fellow Esperantists and anyone else interested in his work as translator. Write to 85 Point Royal, Bracknell, Berkshire.

GEOFFREY HILL was awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize in January for his latest collection of poems, Tenebrae.

NORMAN NICHOLSON, poet and editor, will receive an honorary degree from Liverpool University in July. (MS)

Contributors:
David Arkell, Stephen Bann, John Campbell-Kease, Roger Garfitt, Michael Hamburger, Claire Harman, Matt Simpson.

Correction:
Typographical errors rendered part of James A. Powell's article 'Pontifices' (PNR 11) incomprehensible. The last two sentences of the first paragraph, second column, page 37 should read:


Pinsky's historical argument might be much more effectively stated in terms purely of res and verba. For instance, one might say that 'most Modernist conventions respond to an idee recue demanding that poetry, cóonfronted with the disjunctions between them, nonetheless render verba subsantial embodiments of res'.


Send items for News & Notes to the Co-ordinating Editor, PNR, 330 Corn Exchange, Manchester 4. The honorarium for items used is £5.00. The Editor reserves the right to revise, condense and comment upon material submitted.

This item is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.



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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