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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 12, Volume 6 Number 4, March - April 1980.

News & Notes
NEWS & NOTES will be a regular feature of PN Review in future. We invite readers to send contributions to these pages.

PROFESSOR I. A. RICHARDS, CH, died on 7 September at the age of 86. A seminal critic, Professor Richards was also a poet of distinction and originality. In PNR we will publish two of his last poems and a 'mosaic tribute' to him, with contributions from a number of writers who admired his work. His Selected Poems is currently being reprinted by Carcanet, who also publish Complementarities: Uncollected Essays of I. A. Richards, edited by John Paul Russo.

ELIZABETH BISHOP, the outstanding American poet, died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 6 October at the age of 68. Elaine Feinstein will contribute an essay on her work to a future issue of PNR.

The distinguished West German poet ERNST MEISTER died on 15 June 1979, shortly after being informed that he had been awarded the Büchner Prize for his work, and not long after the publication of his collection, Wandloser Raum. After suffering neglect as a poet for several decades-on the grounds that his work was too 'hermetic' to be 'relevant'-he had begun to receive the recognition due to him. (MH)

We note with regret the death of PASCAL PIA, a leading French journalist and literary critic and author of works on Laforgue, Apollinaire and Baudelaire. Born in 1902, he wrote regularly for the Nouvelle Revue Française, became editor of Ce Soir in the 1930s and director with Albert Camus of Combat, having edited Combat clandestine since 1942. In 1947 he became editor of the successful weekly Carrefour. At the time of his death he was working on a new collected edition of the works of Jules Laforgue. (DA)

MidNAG (Mid Northumberland Arts Group) and Carcanet Press are organizing an EEC TRANSLATION COMPETITION for a £250 prize, provided from EEC funds, and the chance of subsequent publication. They require a 'substantial' work from an original in any other EEC language to be translated into English verse and ask that the work in question be (preferably) one which has not been previously translated into English. The closing date for entires is 1 March 1980 and entry forms are available from: EEC Translation Competition 1979, MidNAG, Wansbeck District Council, Wansbeck Square, Ashington, Northumberland. (CH)

The Welsh Arts Council's INTERNATIONAL WRITER'S PRIZE for 1980 has been awarded to Derek Walcott, the poet and dramatist from the West Indies. He was born in St Lucia and lives and works in Trinidad where he runs a touring theatre company. The prize is awarded biennially and previous recipients have included Ionesco, Durrenmatt and Astrid Lindgren (the Swedish children's author). (JH)

The outstanding event in German poetry this autumn is the publication of a new book of poems by PETER HUCHEL, Die Neunte Stunde, announced by Suhrkamp Verlag for October. It will be only the fourth collection of poems by this eminent poet to appear in the course of half a century. This new collection was ready in 1977 but was withdrawn by the author, who suffered a stroke that year and has been gravely ill ever since. Selected Poems by Peter Huchel, in German and English, is published by Carcanet. (MH)

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (N.E.A.) in America has been subjected to severe criticism of late. An investigative report by a government sub-committee on the NEA (which already disposes of S150 millions of public funds per annum and wants this figure doubled by 1984) accused the Endowment of deficient management policy and practices, failure to meet its legislative mandate or to perform 'its leadership role', misuse of contracts, arbitrary allocation of grant money and too heavy a reliance on 'a closed circle of advisors'. The mismanagement of the NEA and the whole question of public subsidy for the arts is well documented in Black Rooster newsletter, run by Felix Stephanile of Sparrow Press, Indiana, in which Judson Jerome is quoted from the Florida Arts Gazette: `No one really wants to make judgements, and when there is plenty of money, there is no need to do so. Thousands of poets are earning good money for instance in the PITS [Poets-in-the-Schools] program, for which they must qualify by publishing a few poems in magazines. There cannot conceivably be "thousands" of good poets, so ranks are filled by mediocre ones.' Billy Collins wrote in The Midatlantic about the way grants are allocated: 'Our magazine suffers-if we get any grant money, we get close to the minimum-because we are not easily associated with any one group... [It] is distinguishable from other magazines by its literary tone, its aesthetic squint which unfortunately seems to be too subtle a uniqueness for committee members who are arguing about how much money should be going into Hispanic prison verse and how much to Choctaw lesbians.' (CH)

The ghost of F. R. Leavis now incongruously stalks the prairies of Canada through an ambitious journal called THE COMPASS, which for all its academic internationalism (Socrates, Shakespeare, Milton, Eliot, Yvor Winters) calls itself 'a provincial review', on the grounds that it is produced in the province of Alberta. Leavis is saluted as a 'courageous, intelligent, and reasonable servant of life' and The Compass, true to the social implications of Leavis-ism, endows the literary critic in Canada with a vital national function since-in the words of John Baxter, one of its three editors-'the most basic in Canadian unity and in Canadian independence [is] the continuity and integrity of the majority culture, whose language is English'. It is precisely this preoccupation with English (to the virtual exclusion of French) that makes The Compass 'provincial' in the negative sense. <[The Compass, P. O. Box 632, Sub Station 11, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada] (CJF)

A new quarterly publication, FOUNTAINS, has appeared in the South of France. Largely in English, but bilingual in tendency, it is unusually interesting and well-produced and publishes work by an international range of writers. Included in the three issues which have already appeared are poetry by Mas Felipe Delavouët, the Irishman Vincent Duvilly, Mia Stark and Paul Buck, prose by and on Lawrence Durrell and interviews with the Algerian writer Nabile Farès and Delavouët. It is produced from the Paradox Bookstore, Aix-en-Provence. (DG)

September saw the launching of a new monthly French magazine, LIVRES DE FRANCE, mainly of interest to the book trade itself. One of the dominant issues in the first copy is that of 'les prix flottent': legislation introduced in France on 1 July abolished publishers' recommended prices, leaving the actual price of books in the shops to be decided by each shop-proprietor, taking into account the shop's facilities, location, and competition. This has caused a great deal of disruption and created a situation in which the price of an ordinary paperback can vary enormously (the magazine cites prices of Jeanne Sourin's latest novel ranging between 39 and 70 francs) and in which chain stores such as the giant FNAC bookshops can cut their prices while small firms are unable to compete at all. It is a lesson for those who would seek to abolish the Net Book Agreement in the U.K. The same lesson can be learned from developments in Australia.

POETRY WALES, edited by J. P. Ward, has published two interesting issues comprising together a 'special feature' devoted to critical issues. Poetry Wales has always maintained a careful balance between specifically Welsh work (creative and critical) and the broader perspectives that have made it at once a Welsh and a British magazine. The special feature includes some major essays, interviews, symposia, poems and reviews. The price is remarkably reasonable: each number is £1.00 (plus 10p each p&p). They are available from Christopher Davies (Publishers) Ltd., 52 Mansel Street, Swansea SA1 5EL, Wales. Wales has long been comparatively well-served with literary magazines; Poetry Wales is certainly the best of an interesting lot.

The next issue of the magazine PLANET (number 50, due out in the latter months of this year) will be the last. Planet, edited by Ned Thomas (author of The Welsh Extremist), was founded by him in 1970. Although its main concern has been with Wales, it has tried to relate Welsh themes to their European context. It has set new standards for magazine design in Wales and, more importantly, has made a considerable contribution to the understanding of contemporary minority cultures. It has published short stories, poems and reviews and has been ambitious in the breadth, depth and seriousness of its discussion. (JH)

In their publicity-blitz for the 17th BELFAST FESTIVAL, the organisers cause no surprise to students of a tiny population's cultural complacency by affirming that 'poetry is in a flourishing state in Ulster' and that they have traditionally put 'the emphasis very much on our own writers'. This year, however, they deviate into a dubious faith that the fans might 'welcome the opportunity to hear more poets from outside Ulster, so we have gathered an interesting and attractive programme'. Stirred and hopeful, one scrutinises the details. Brian Patten is listed for Wednesday lunchtime, Wednesday evening, Thursday lunchtime, Thursday evening, Friday evening; Roger McGough for Thursday evening, Friday lunchtime, Friday evening. There are two other poetry slots: Patrick Galvin (the 'Ulster poet'), and 'reader to be announced'. Behind on aggregate, perhaps McGough should go for it. (AW)

[Contributors: David Arkell, C. J. Fox, David Gascoyne, Michael Hamburger, Claire Harman, David Holloway, Jeremy Hooker, John Pilling, Andrew Waterman.]

This item is taken from PN Review 12, Volume 6 Number 4, March - April 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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