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This item is taken from PN Review 197, Volume 37 Number 3, January - February 2011.News & Notes
Organisers of a Canadian conference celebrating the centenary of ELIZABETH BISHOP’S birth have issued a call for papers. ‘It must be Nova Scotia’: Negotiating Place in the Writings of Elizabeth Bishop will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 9 to 12 June 2011. The programme features a keynote address by Colm Tóibín and performances of music inspired by Bishop’s work. Sessions will focus on Bishop’s examinations of place, borders and shifting geographies, and the importance of travel in her life and work. Papers that engage with the relationship between local and the global in Bishop’s work, with her sometimes contested status as a Canadian, American and Brazilian writer, are invited. Participants will visit the Bulmer home in Great Village, Nova Scotia, where Bishop spent much of her childhood with her maternal grandparents, a place she returned to in poetry and prose. A 300 word abstract and a brief CV should be sent to email@example.com by 10 January 2011.
Playwright SIR TOM STOPPARD returns to British television after a twenty year break with a new dramatisation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End for BBC Two. Spanning a turbulent period from the twilight of the Edwardian era and the end of the First World War, Ford’s four-volume masterpiece (reissued this year by Carcanet) is one of the great neglected works of twentieth-century fiction. Parade’s End explores a love triangle between English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens, his beautiful wife Sylvia and a young suffragette named Valentine Wannop. Stoppard spent eighteen months adapting of the four-volume novel with the BBC producer Piers Wenger into five 60 minute episodes. ‘The BBC came to me with the idea of adapting Ford’s novel for TV two years ago,’ commented Stoppard. ‘I had never read it and I fell in love with it. Parade’s End has been my main pre-occupation since then... I confess I feel a bit proud of it.’ Parade’s End will be directed by Bafta-winning Susanna White (Bleak House) and screened by BBC Wales Drama this spring.
The winners of The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation 2010 have been announced. HENRY MILLER took first prize in the age 14-and-under category for his translation from the Latin of Ovid’s ‘Amores 3.2’. PATRICK HEATON won the 18-and-under category with his version of Ovid’s ‘Heroides 1’. The open category prize was awarded to JOHN RICHMOND for his translation from the French of ‘The Retreat from Moscow’ by Victor Hugo. Second prize was won by DUNCAN FORBES for translating the Archpoet’s ‘Confession’ from the Latin, and third prize went to JANE DRAYCOTT for her version of ‘Song for Wulf’, from the Anglo-Saxon. Chen Dandan, Michael Foley, James Knox Whittet, Mario Petrucci and Carol Rumens were commended by judges Susan Bassnet, Edith Hall, Karen Leeder and George Szirtes. Visit www.stephen-spender.org for more information and the full text of each poem.
SIMON ARMITAGE is leading a poetry project to celebrate the 2010 Olympics. Poetry Parnassus, launched at Poetry International in November, will assemble poets from all of the Olympic nations for what is anticipated to be the biggest poetry event ever. The global congregation of over 200 poets will take place at the Southbank Centre for a week during the 2012 Olympics. Each performing poet will donate one of her or his own books to the Southbank Centre’s Poetry Library, which celebrates its centenary in the Olympic year. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, said: ‘Poetry has always been so associated with the Olympics – the Greeks used poetry to speak of human prowess, peace after war, humour after sorrow. It seems appropriate to make poetry this central idea of something that is about a world gathering.’ Finding a representative from each competing country has proved a challenge: Armitage, the Southbank Centre’s artist in residence, is still seeking a poet from Antarctica. Asked about the daunting logistics of the project (Zimbabwean poet Togara Muzanenhamo was unable to appear at the London launch due to visa restrictions), Armitage responded, ‘I’ve always believed in aiming high and attempting the impossible – otherwise I wouldn’t have gone into poetry.’
Lingering in the stacks of the hundred-year-old Poetry Library a while longer, we discover that two new magazines have been added to its archive of literary journals. Issues of The French Literary Review and Oxford Poetry are now available to browse both in the Library’s reading room at the Southbank Centre and online at www.poetrymagazines.org.uk. The French Literary Review publishes high quality prose and poetry with a connection to France but written in English. The beautifully-produced, twice-yearly journal is edited by Barbara Dordi from Cailau, Aude, France (www.barbaradordi.blogspot.com). Founded in 1910 by Oxford undergraduates and published by Basil Blackwell, Oxford Poetry (www.oxfordpoetry.co.uk) is one of the oldest poetry magazines in the UK. Aldous Huxley, Siegfried Sassoon, W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Kingsley Amis, Geoffrey Hill, Mick Imlah, John Lanchester and Robert Macfarlane have all graced the magazine’s masthead. It is currently edited by Hamid Khanbhai and Tom Richards from Magdalen College, Oxford.
American singer-songwriter TOM WAITS is to publish a book of poems, New York Magazine reports (23 November 2010). A collaboration with the photojournalist Michael O’Brien, Hard Ground will paint a portrait of homelessness, presenting Waits’s words alongside images of people who ‘live on the hard ground’. Despite a four-decade discography, the book is the cult singer’s first foray into print. He remarked a 1975 interview, ‘Poetry is a very dangerous word...I don’t like the stigma that comes with being called a poet.’ The project is modelled on 1941 publication Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, in which poems by James Agee were accompanied by Walker Evans’s photographs of Depression-era farmers. Hard Ground will be published by the University of Texas Press in March 2011.
Editor and translator MARK POLIZZOTTI has been appointed Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where he will oversee all aspects of the Museum’s academic publishing programme. Polizzotti has a distinguished career in publishing: he was previously Publisher at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and before that held senior roles at David R. Godine Publishing, Grove Weidenfeld and Random House. Himself an acclaimed translator from French, he has published over thirty books, among them works by Gustave Flaubert (an incomparable version of Bouvard et Pécuchet), Marguerite Duras, Jean Echenoz and Maurice Roche. He is also a scholar, biographer of André Breton, and editor of major exhibition catalogues for the Met, on Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Bonnard and others.
The London Shakespeare Centre at Kings College London (KCL) has launched a new website: www.shakespeare.kcl.ac.uk. The handsome site features regular news about Shakespeare-related events, seminars, publications and productions. The Centre promotes research and teaching in the area of Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies, building on KCL’s central London location and its links with the education programmes at Shakespeare’s Globe and the British Library.
A plaque to commemorate JOHN HEATHSTUBBS was unveiled on 27 October 2010 at the poet’s former residence at 22 Artesian Road, London W2 5AR (near Westbourne Grove). Organised by the indefatigable poet, editor and Greville Press publisher Anthony Astbury, the unveiling featured readings by Heath-Stubbs’s friends and contemporaries Oliver Bernard, Dinah Livingstone, Alan Brownjohn, Eddie Linden and others. In his address, coorganiser Bernard Saint praised the poet, who died in 2006 aged 88, for his ‘knowledge, grace, high technique, vivid independence of mind and compassionate spirit’. He went on to say: ‘In modern literature many figures are lauded and respected. Fewer are those both lauded and loved – as they live, and beyond their death.’ Even in his later years Heath-Stubbs, who was nearly blind from boyhood, was regularly to be spotted happily cudgelling his way between his Bayswater flat and the Coach and Horses pub in Soho. The plaque, which honours the poet’s long and influential life and work in the borough, was made possible by private donations. A surfeit contribution of over £1000 was donated to the Modern Literary Archive at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, where Heath-Stubbs’s papers are held.
VIOLA FISCHEROVA, known as the First Lady of Czech poetry, died in Prague at the age of 75. Born in 1935 in Brno, she studied Polish and Czech in Brno and at Prague’s Charles University. Fischerova emigrated to Switzerland in 1968 and after the death of her first husband, the writer Pavel Buksa (pseudonym: Karel Michal), moved to Germany, where she worked for Radio Free Europe. Having had her first book rejected by communist publishers in 1957, Fischerova did not publish until after the fall of the regime in 1993. She returned to the Czech Republic in 1994, having spent almost thirty years in exile. Her poems have been widely translated and published in anthologies. The deaths of her husbands and her experience of living under communism inform them. She received literary awards at home and abroad, including the F. E. Dresdener Prize, 2006. Her Selected Poetry was published in Poland (2006) and Spain (2007); she was also the author of several books for children.
The controversial Romanian poet ADRIAN PAUNESCU has died in Bucharest. A full obituary will appear in the next issue of PNR.
This item is taken from PN Review 197, Volume 37 Number 3, January - February 2011.