NEWS & NOTES
Compiled by Eleanor Crawforth
Colombian poet piedad bonnett received the 11th American Poetry Award from the Casa de las Americas cultural association and Spanish publisher Visor Libros. She was awarded the prize for her book Explicaciones no Pedidas (Unsolicited Explanations). The award is one of Latin America’s oldest and most distinguished literary prizes, honouring poetry, essays, novels and other forms of literary expression.
A rare autograph ted hughes poem dedicated to his publisher Richard Gilbertson was sold at auction by Bonham’s in London on 22 November 2011. Hughes’s 25-line poem, which raised £875, was inscribed in a pre-publication copy of the first edition of Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber & Faber, 1970), with a dust-jacket designed by Leonard Baskin. Concerning his most famous and controversial volume, it begins: ‘Who does not approve…’ and continues, ‘…I admit, Crow is a beast / That sweetens no feast / With flesh or with humour. / But gossip & rumour / Have bitten him bare. / Folly – for a stare, / Error – for an ear, / His wings disappear / From Devon forever. / He will not find better / But peace & rest / And a hidden nest – / Not better, best.’ This extempore poem – typical of Hughes’s book inscriptions for friends – is inscribed ‘To Richard from Ted 6th Oct 1970’, the official publication date of the volume being 12 October. Gilbertson was a bookseller who ran the private press at Crediton in Devon that published, inter alia, Hughes’s Animal Poems (1967) and The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar (1970).
judith wilkinson’s translation of Raptors by toon tellegen (Carcanet, 2011) has won the Popescu Prize for Poetry Translation. Selected from a shortlist of six, Raptors is Tellegen’s poem sequence about a dysfunctional family, in which all the poems except the last begin with the phrase ‘My Father…’. Wilkinson’s is, the judges said, a ‘sustained tour de force’ of translation. Tellegen’s ‘complex, often surreal and always highly affecting poems exhibit an understanding of the power of the story in which the dream-like psychology, the marvellously nuanced telling of a family’s malaise set him apart as an entirely distinctive voice in European poetry,’ wrote judges Sasha Dugdale and Jane Draycott. The Popescu Prize, formerly the European Poetry Translation Prize, is awarded biennially by the Poetry Society for a volume of poetry translated from a European language into English.
The final stage of PN Review’s digitisation is complete. Subscribers can now download pdfs of whole issues, starting with PN Review 1, from www.pnreview.co.uk. All 203 issues (and counting) are available for study and download. This facility means readers can visit archived issues as though they were new-minted, with a sense of each issue’s visual structure, its juxtapositions and confrontations. The magazine is thus wholly alive online. Subscribers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they require a reminder of their login details.
Organisers of the conference entitled ‘Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End: Modernism and the First World War’ have issued a call for papers. The international gathering takes place at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, 27–29 September 2012, with a keynote lecture by Adam Piette, author of Imagination at War: British Fiction and Poetry 1939–1945. Contact email@example.com for more information. Ford’s tetralogy was first published as Some Do Not… (1924), No More Parades (1925), A Man Could Stand Up – (1926) and Last Post (1928). The ‘Tietjens saga’, as it is sometimes known, has been described by Anthony Burgess as ‘the finest novel about the First World War’ and by Malcolm Bradbury as ‘a central Modernist novel of the 1920s, in which it is exemplary’. W.H. Auden added to the chorus: ‘There are not many English novels which deserve to be called great: Parade’s End is one of them.’ During 2010– 11 Carcanet reissued all four volumes in a landmark publishing project. Edited by Ford experts, these editions provide readers for the first time with reliable texts, detailed annotation and discussion of the novels’ histories. 2011 was also the year that the BBC and HBO embarked on a five-part adaptation of Parade’s End, scripted by Sir Tom Stoppard. The series will star Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Rupert Everett and Miranda Richardson and is to be broadcast in 2012.
A new biography of william carlos williams by Herbert Leibowitz (chapters of which featured in PN Review) has been published in the United States by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. This first life of Williams since Paul Mariani’s in 1981 was welcomed in The New York Times in November as a ‘cranky, unapologetically self-assertive, infidelity-obsessed, interesting and idiosyncratic book’. The title is a quote from Williams: ‘Something Urgent I Have to Say to You’: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams. Leibowitz, editor and a cofounder of Parnassus: Poetry in Review, considers Williams’s life and work thematically, in chapters on family origins, marriage and love affairs, his six months abroad and the writing of Paterson. ‘Many biographies treat artistic creation as a kind of bloodless version of a Caesarian birth,’ the New York Times review concludes, ‘but Leibowitz is terrific at conveying the confusion, uncertainty and doggedness of the life of the artist intent on discoveries.’
Poet and essayist tomás segovia died in Mexico City on 7 November; he was eighty-four. One of the last surviving Spanish poets whose exile began with the Civil War, he was born in Valencia, went into exile in France, then Morocco, and arrived in Mexico in his early teens. After Franco’s death he returned for a time to live in Madrid, though Mexico remained his homeland. He was widely honoured, a reward for longevity and for the cumulative quality of his writing and its subtle eroticism. In 2000 he received the Octavio Paz Prize for Poetry and the Essay and in 2005 the Juan Rulfo Prize. In 2008 the Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize was presented to him. He expressed surprise: ‘I am the kind of writer who tends to get forgotten,’ he said. ‘I belong to no current, no country or party.’ The Lorca judges called him a poet of the margins, to which he responded by declaring himself a man from every margin, every alienation. It pleased him to be described by one editor as a German poet, with his unusual clarities. He wrote poems in French as well as Spanish.
Palestinian writer taha muhammad ali died in October. Born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriya, he fled to Lebanon during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. A year later he slipped back across the border with his family and settled in Nazareth, where he remained. The Saffuriya of his childhood served as the nexus of poetry and fiction focused on everyday experience. Selftaught, he began his writing career late (in 1983) but went on to publish several collections of poetry and stories. Ali wrote in a
News & Notes