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This item is taken from PN Review 115, Volume 23 Number 5, May - June 1997.

News & Notes
ANDREI SINYAVSKY, who famously stood trial in Moscow in 1966 with Yuli Daniel and spent seven years in detention, has died at the age of 71. 'It was the first time since the 1920s,' wrote Michael Scammell of the trial, 'that individuals had been openly tried for their opinions, and also the first time that defendants in a show trial had defied their judges and prosecutors' (Guardian). Sinyavsky's best-known book is A Voice from the Chorus, written during his imprisonment and published in 1973.

In December 1996 the Finland-Swedish poet and writer SOLVEIG VON SCHOULTZ died at the age of 89. Her last collection, Molnsommar (Cloud Summer) was published shortly before her death. 'Here' from the final collection (translated by David McDuff) reads: 'What I long for:/the same old striped blouse/the same old checked blouse/the same writing desk/the same sky outside the window/a piece of reality under the lens/and an infinite number of days.'

Late last year the Surinam-born Dutch poet Albert Helman, who wrote as LOU LICHTVELD, died at the age of 93. His collected poems appeared in 1979.

SEAMUS HEANEY received the Whitbread Prize for his collection The Spirit Level.

JOHN ASHBERY was 1996 recipient of the major Belgian Grand Prix des Biennales Internationales de Poésie at the Maison Internationale de la Poésie in Brussels.

R.S.THOMAS received the Horst Bienek Preis fur Lyrik at the Bavarian Academy of Arts in December 1996, and Kevin Perryman the Horst Bienek Förderpreis fur Lyrik. (Previous recipients include John Ashbery, Tomas Tranströmer, Robert Creeley and Seamus Heaney). The prize went to Thomas for his 'lyrisches Lebenswerk'. The jury describe his work as representing a 'high point in religious poetry in our century'. Thomas accepted the prize in Welsh, then English. He read a few poems and Perryman - whose advocacy since 1983 has earned Thomas his German readership - presented his translations. For anyone interested in contemporary poetry and translation, in English, German and French, Babel Press and the journal Babe are recommended. 'The endeavour,' writes David Constantine in a recent review, 'is a peculiarly heartening one.' The presentation of the publications is in a class of its own. Details are available from Babel Verlag, Postfach 1231,86938 Schondorf am Ammersee, Germany.

The trade publishing interests of the Reed Group, including Heinemann, Methuen and Secker, have been acquired by Random House. This further consolidation under American ownership of major British imprints, with the 'rationalisations' that make amalgamation profitable, is in some respects regrettable. The end of the NBA and the increasing power of the bookselling chains make consolidation of manufacturers inevitable. Power is in size and in the profitability that comes from compelling margins. Profitability also comes from concentrating on a limited number of well-targeted, marketable lines; poetry - which has all but fallen off the Hutchinson and Chatto lists within the Random empire -may be confined entirely to Cape, with its excellent but small list.

A press release from FORWARD PRESS announces that the court confirmed it is not a Vanity Press, and the 'more than 70,000 writers' it has published under its imprints over the last six years 'receive public apology' from the Poetry Society which published its charge in Poetry News and on the Web.

The PRAGUE WRITERS' FESTIVAL runs from June 23rd until the 28th, Louis Armand, Poetry Editor of The Prague Revue, informs us. Participants include E.L.Doctorow, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nuala Ni Dhomhaill, Viola Fischerova, a group of Portuguese poets, Andre du Bouchet, Aharon Appelfeld and others. Information is available from the Director, Revolucni 28, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic. The Prague Revue is worth seeing and can be visited on the web at: Prague also boasts an English-language publishing house, Twisted Spoon Press, dedicated to new writing, translations and graphic arts from central Europe (P.O.Box 21, Preslova 12, 150 21 Prague 5).

The biennial VONDEL TRANSLATION PRIZE has been established to celebrate an English or American translation of a Dutch work of cultural significance. Administered by the English Translators' Association, it is supported by the Foundation for the Translation of Dutch Literature and the Flemish Cultural Ministry.

In February the Belarus poet SLAVAMIR ADAMOVICH was released from prison, charges relating to his poem 'Kill the President' having been dropped.

The WILFRED OWEN ASSOCIATION (17 Belmont, Shrewsbury SYI 1TE) seek donations to further their commemorative work, part of which is devoted to the encouragement of new writers and to publication. Their aim is to create an endowment substantial enough to generate funds for their ambitious programme.

1996 NATIONAL POETRY MONTH in the United States was judged a success and April 1997 has been National Poetry Month with readings and events.

After sixteen years as editor, REGINALD GIBBONS is handing over the American magazine TriQuarterly to his co-editor Susan Hahn. Gibbons transformed TrzQuarterly into one of the best of the American literary journals. Himself a distinguished poet and translator, he returns to a less hectic creative and academic life.

A conference on MODERNISM is being organised in London for the end of May. For further information contact Patrick McGuinness, Jesus College, Oxford.

The Thomas Lovell Beddoes Society announces publication of Scattered Limbs: the Making and Unmaking of Death's Fest-Book by Michael Bradshaw and Homage to Homunculus Mandrake by Alan Halsey, at £4.50 postpaid from 11 Laund Nook, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 IGY, from where details of membership can also be obtained.

BILL MANHIRE has been appointed New Zealand's first 'poet laureate' by Hawke's Bay vineyard. His full title is Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate. Since the British laureateship includes alcoholic emoluments, and - as the Estate general manager comments - there is a 'natural symbiosis between wine and poetry' -there's something fitting about the new award which will be made annually to a different poet and includes a $5000 stipend. Manhire, New Zealand's outstanding poet of the middle generation, is an excellent choice.

This item is taken from PN Review 115, Volume 23 Number 5, May - June 1997.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to
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