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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 35, Volume 10 Number 3, January - February 1984.

News & Notes
The poet FRANCES HOROVITZ died on Sunday, 2 October, at the age of 45. Her poetry was marked by the attentive registration, in delicate and shapely verse, of the natural world and the values it implies, though her last collection, Snow Light, Water Light (recently published by Bloodaxe Books) showed an increasing historical imagination. But it was for her work as a performer of poetry, at public events and on the air, that she was most widely known. To a technique of the first rank she added a poet's ear and a poet's insight and, more than any other reader, commanded the respect and admiration of her fellow writers. As an interpreter of recent and contemporary verse, she leaves no equal.

As the progress of her illness impeded her reading career, her performances took on a dimension of courage which her audiences could hardly suspect. Reading often in great pain, her first concern was that her work should never fall short of the high standard she knew poetry to demand. It never did. (Fraser Steel)

PETE LAVER, poet, illustrator and Librarian at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, died on 24 August of a heart attack while walking on Scafell. He was 36. During the early 1970s he edited the Newcastle magazine Ashes, publishing work by Tony Harrison, Tom Pickard and others. In 1976 he moved to Grasmere, where his cataloguing of the large and (then) disorganized manuscript collection at the Wordsworth Library, and his tireless help to visiting researchers, made a substantial contribution to Wordsworthian scholarship. His poems and drawings appeared in many small press publications, and a selection of his work appeared in Ten North-East Poets (Bloodaxe, 1980). It is to be hoped that his poems and some of his graphic work can be collected and republished: he deserved a reputation he did not live to enjoy. (Grevel Lindop)

The poet CHRISTIAN GALI (his real name was Gilbert Gualinetti) died in Grenoble in September at the age of 58. He was born in Grenoble and worked most of his life there as a journalist. He was an active editor and promoter of poetry as well as a writer. He was a devoted admirer of the work of Char, and this great, difficult figure has left a mark on Gali's work. He described himself as Char's disciple risqué. He was keenly attentive to graphic art as well, and his own work was in continual dialogue with that of some of the finest artists of his time. 'Pendant mes années maigres, je fus un lycéen joyeux puis un guerrier sans haine.'

MICHAEL SMITH, the Jamaican poet, aged 28, died on 17 August from head injuries sustained when he was stoned by four men outside the Jamaica Labour Party headquarters in St Andrew, Jamaica. He had confronted Dr Mavis Gilmour, Minister of Education and a Labour Party MP, during a public meeting the night before, being highly critical of both the main Jamaican parties. Those who carried out the crime retired into the Jamaica Labour Party offices. The murder of Smith was overlooked in the Jamaican media, though there has been some protest abroad, especially in France and later in London. The irony of Michael Smith's death is that he owed allegiance to neither of the main parties but, as Auden advised, took up a stance of 'loyal opposition'. His poetry developed the language and rhythms of his people: he was a leading practitioner of the new movement in Jamaica called 'Dub Poetry', poetry with a strong rhythmic beat, recited against a reggae music base. He was a fine performer as well as an inventive poet.

Professor RICHARD HINTON THOMAS died in Berlin on 19 September at the age of 71. A most distinguished Germanist, his achievement as a teacher at Reading and later at Warwick was radical and outstanding. His books-the first, on Expressionism, published in 1939, the last on Nietzsche, due this autumn-are characterized by exegetic enthusiasm and sound scholarship. For him (and hence for his students) German studies remained fresh.

GUNARS FREIMANIS, a Latvian poet and former political prisoner, now faces a fifteen-year sentence for peacefully defending the human and national rights of his countrymen, Index on Censorship reports (BN10). Since the beginning of the year the KGB has been conducting a new offensive against dissent and national assertiveness in the three Baltic republics -Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Freimanis is the sixth dissident so far detained in Lithuania.

ANATOLY MARCHENKO has been jailed for fifteen years. Details of the trial of this celebrated author have only recently emerged. A lengthy report describes how, in one of the most blatant cases of its kind for some time in the Soviet Union, Marchenko has been imprisoned solely for his writing. He is 45 and was arrested for the sixth time in March 1981. His first book to reach an international readership was My Testimony (1969), a memoir of the post-Stalinist Gulag he was sent to; now he is being punished for his second major book, From Tarusa to Siberia (1976), an extension of the first book. He is due to spend five more years in labour camp and ten in internal exile. Protesting the harsh verdict, among others, was Dr Sakharov: 'Marchenko's sentence is undisguised vengeance, an open reprisal for remarkable books about the contemporary Gulag . . .for steadfastness, honesty and independence of mind and character.' (Index BN6)

In the latest move against Leningrad's vigorous unofficial cultural life, Index on Censorship reports (BN7), the Soviet authorities have arrested another well-known writer, MIKHAIL MEYLAKH. Meylakh is primarily a literary linguist, translator and specialist in modern Russian literature. During the searches before his arrest various items were confiscated from his renowned literary collection, including works by Akhmatova, Mandelstam and Nabokov published outside the Soviet Union. Though his father is a Stalin-prize winning member of the Soviet literary establishment, having written a study of Lenin's literary taste, Mikhail Meylakh has been a difficult case for the authorities ever since 1972.

Spending on public library books has fallen by 19% since the Conservatives came to power, according to the National Book Committee report. Some libraries are nearing the point where they will have no book budget left. In some instances cuts are at 30% and 40% and even, occasionally, 50%. The cuts are invisible to the naked eye and relatively uncontroversial. Book stocks have fallen by half a million in the last year. 'The reductions have eaten into vital services to school-children, students, the disadvantaged and local commerce,' the report says. 'The Secretary of State for Education and some local authorities are failing in their duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act.'

The University of Dundee has conferred the degree of LL. D. on the poet and novelist IAIN CRICHTON SMITH as a measure of respect for his contribution to literature in English and Gaelic.

BLOODAXE BOOKS have begun publishing novels as well as poetry and prose. Better said, at this stage they are republishing novels by Eva Figes, B. S. Johnson and Shena Mackay. These reissues have most attractive covers and prices which are remarkably reasonable. The new Bloodaxe catalogue, full of pictures and poems, and promising some major books (including a genuinely Collected Hart Crane) is available from Bloodaxe Books, P.O.Box 1SN, Newcastle-on-Tyne NE99 1SN.

The Golgonooza Press (3 Cambridge Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 9EP) are publishing A Holy Tradition of Working, an anthology of ERIC GILL's writing. This book promises to be up to the usual high standard of production and design of Golgonooza books, and at £8.95 (+80p p&p) for 150 pages hardback, reasonably priced. The anthology is in 14 chapters and includes extracts from Gill's books and essays. The aim is to give a concise exposition of his thought. Though his sculptures and graphic work have not been neglected, his writings have, to an extraordinary degree. Yet he remains a remarkably fertile and suggestive theorist as well as artist. The big abstractions he uses come out of their contexts with proper specific gravity and gain precision in his work as they do at times in that of David Jones. The book has been edited by Brian Keeble.

ETHOS is a new Canadian-based international literary magazine. The first issue, published in May of this year, featured American and Canadian writers-Frye, McLuhan, Ondaatje, Atwood, Levertov, Simic and others. Issue 2 is a francophone number with French and French-Canadian contributors and, as in the first issue, a photographic feature. The third issue, due in November, features writing from Latin America, with all the names you would expect and a few surprises. A British-Canadian issue is projected for number 4, and will be published in February 1984. The magazine can be ordered from 10 Price Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4W 1Z4.
 
YVES BONNEFOY, since he was made a member of the French Academy, seems to have approached earthly beatification at great speed (rather as Rene Char has done). At Cerisy in September a special conference devoted to his work was attended by various academics from all over the world, and Bonnefoy himself graced the company. The theological and gnostic elements in the work much occupied some of the participants. Others concentrated on his interest in the graphic arts and sculpture, others in problems of translation (in which he is uniquely learned, as his essay on Yeats proves).

Penguin, in the first of their new King Penguin poetry collections, have published JAMES FENTON's The Memory of War and Children in Exile: Poems 1968-1983 in paperback format at £1.95. Even so, the Salamander Press Edinburgh edition of The Memory of War and the new edition of Children in Exile are still a better buy. Fenton's poetry profits from the space and tasteful production allowed it in the Salamander editions, and while the new Penguin isn't exactly ugly, it is visually unworthy of so good a poet. The change at Penguin which has brought this and other collections of contemporary poetry about is a welcome one. No doubt the new policy will be more cautious than the policy pursued in the late 1960s and early 1970s which ended in editorial and commercial tears. One can think of five or six contemporary poets one would like to be able to recommend at so reasonable a price as £1.95.

The immense significance of World War I for writing and painting as well as other aspects of life in this century is well known, which is why the existence of the WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION should be noteworthy to PNR readers. The Association was formed in 1980 to further interest in the period 1914-18, with both sides of No Man's Land represented. Its magazine Stand To! carries articles, memoirs, book reviews, photographs and other items dealing with hostilities on the Western Front. Information on membership of the Association may be obtained from Mrs Kim Dopheide, 47 Hawthorne Avenue, Liverpool L26 9XB.
(C. J. Fox)
 
Half my Days and Nights, the poet HUBERT NICHOLSON's memoir of the 1920s and 1930s, has been re-issued in a handsome paperback edition, with a preface by the author and photographs. First published in 1941, when Nicholson was 33, the book remains thoroughly absorbing. It combines confessional fire with a deep sense of the perilous age in which it is set and a vivid evocation of the remarkably bracing literary life of Hull and Bristol in those decades. Nicholson arrived in London in time to witness the capital enveloped by the shadows of war, an experience hauntingly rendered in Half My Days and Nights. The book is available from Autolycus Publications, 14 Barlby Road, London W10 6AR, at £3.75.
(C. J. Fox)

Societies and newsletters devoted to individual literary stars of the century are proliferating. Pound, Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Richard Aldington (the New Canterbury Literary Society) and David Jones are among those enjoying this degree of posthumous cultification. The latest such organization reaching our notice is the ROBINSON JEFFERS Committee of Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, California 90041. The Committee publishes a newsletter, the most recent issue of which includes an interview with a longtime friend of the poet, Professor Benjamin Lehman, who recalled visiting Jeffers at the latter's legendary residence, Tor House, overlooking the Pacific from the California coast. The visit in question lasted an hour, with Tony Luhan- New Mexican mate of Mabel Dodge Luhan-also present. 'There was no conversation. Tony was an Indian, and in effect pulled a blanket over his head, and we did the same. I watched the sea; Robin probably was thinking of a poem, I don't know what; and I've no intuition as to what an Indian thinks about. But there we were, three men in a room completely silent, and it was fine.'
(C. J. Fox)

That indefatigable sleuth David Arkell has discovered that Harold Monro's first Poetry Bookshop (Boswell Street, WC 1) is now an Italian restaurant. His second (Great Russell Street) is now a Wimpy Bar.

AWARDS AND PRIZES. Poets wishing to enter for this year's Eric Gregory Award are advised that it is too late, the closing date having been 31 October. However the W. H. Heinemann Bequest for the Royal Society of Literature Award is still open (and will be until 31 December) to books published this year, and details are available from the Royal Society of Literature, 1 Hyde Park Gardens, London W2 2LT. The Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for the best regional novel is also open until the end of the year, administered by the Royal Society of Literature too. Details of the Fawcett Book Prize 'for the book which best contributes to an understanding of women's position in society today' are available from the Fawcett Society, 46 Harleyford Road, London SE11 5AY. The Somerset Maugham Awards' deadline is 31 December and details are available from the Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB. A new award, launched by five British Regional Arts Associations in conjunction with Constables the publishers to find 'the best new novel from the North of England' has been launched and details are available from Northern Arts, 10 Osborne Terrace, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 1NZ.

Simon Curtis, whose 'Vizetelly & Co' appeared in PNR 32, draws attention to an error on page 29. 'Louis-Philippe, which I spelt with two l's, should, of course, be Louis Napoleon, or Napoleon III. My apologies.' Another error: Michael Hulse writes to chide PNR's 'resident devil' for doctoring his 'Letter from Germany' in PNR 34. 'The lady whose novel Katzengold I recommended was (and still is) called B-i-r-gitta Arens, not Brigitta'.

This item is taken from PN Review 35, Volume 10 Number 3, January - February 1984.



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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