Vol 59 No 4
POETRY SOCIETY DIAMOND JUBILEE
POETRY GALA AT THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
Monday, 3rd February, 1969, at 8 p.m.
Amongst the poets who have agreed to take part are :
There is also a strong chance that Ezra Pound will be present, which will be an event of great importance, as it is many years since he has appeared in public in England.
Musical backing will be provided by :
The recital will be directed by :
Tickets at 42s., 30s., 21s., 15s., 10s. and 7s. 6d.; priority booking from 9th December-3rd January, at : The Poetry Society, 21 Earls Court Square, London, S.W.S.
General Booking at the Royal Festival Hall box office from 4th January-3rd February.
At the Royal Festival Hall (Riverside Terrace) from 15th January-6th February, Mondays-Fridays, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission free.
In the evenings and at week-ends, the exhibition will be open to concertgoers only.
Exhibits will include poster poems, mobile poems, machine poems, concrete poems, manuscripts, journals, record sleeves and books.
This Gala is presented with the support of the Greater London Council and the Arts Council of Great Britain.
POETRY SOCIETY DIAMOND JUBILEE
Week-End School at Magdalen College, Oxford
As part of the Jubilee celebrations, there will be a Week-end School at Magdalen College, Oxford. A programme of recitals, discussions and lectures is being arranged, in which many distinguished people will be present, including a number of notable poets and scholars living in Oxford. The major event of the weekend will be a public recital in Magdalen College School Hall.
Date : Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April.
Price : Members 8 guineas. Non-members 10 guineas, inclusive of one year's membership of The Poetry Society. Tickets are inclusive of meals and accommodation.
Tickets can be obtained from The Poetry Society, 21 Earls Court Square, London, S.W.5, from 27th January.
The College can accommodate only a limited number of people, so it is advisable to buy your tickets early. A certain number of tickets will be reserved until 28th February exclusively for examiners, and the teachers who are linked to the Society.
It is the Society's intention to hold Week-End Schools twice a year in different parts of the country. There will be another one in the autumn, further details of which will be announced in a later edition of The Poetry Review.
The Byron Memorial Appeal
The donations for this appeal have been coming in steadily. On the night of Hallowe'en, the Society held a non-stop reading of Byron's Don Juan in aid of the appeal. Hundreds attended, and the occasion gave rise to wide BBC and press coverage. The cost of the Abbey memorial is now covered. However, The Poetry Society aims to raise enough money to endow an annual Byron Memorial lecture: the appeal is therefore still open, and readers of The Poetry Review who have not yet contributed, are again urged to give it their support.
The date for the unveiling ceremony of the Byron Memorial in Westminster Abbey will be announced in the Spring issue of The Poetry Review.
The Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize
This year's competition is now being judged and the result will be announced some time early next year.
This prize of not less than £200 is awarded annually to the author of a volume of poetry comprising not less than 20 poems or 400 lines published in English and presented in duplicate to the Society's library in the year of publication. The closing date for 1969 is 1st October. In judging the entries the adjudicators give special consideration to newly emerging poets so far as merit warrants. In the event of the poems translated into English the prize is divided equally between the poet and the translator.
The Greenwood Prize for the Poem of the Year
Jon Stallworthy judged the 136 poems submitted this year and has awarded the prize to Jennie M. Palen for her Cornfield with Crows.
The general level of entry was lower than that of the three similar competitions judged by Mr Stallworthy in the past. A short list of nine poems was reduced to three with no great difficulty, but the final choice between Cornfield with Crows, Caer Wysg by C. M. Radcliffe, and Requiem for Aberfan by D. M. Thomas was a different matter. Cornfield with Crows, an `open letter' to Vincent van Gogh, eventually emerged the winner because, although less ambitious than the long Requiem, its momentum was better controlled; and its evocation of the painter's blazing world was richer and more vigorous than C. M. Radcliffe's meditation on the fortress on the river Usk.
CORNFIELD WITH CROWS
Would you have hungered so for light, Vincent
(Van Gogh of whom the Van Goghs were then ashamed)
except for the grime and dark of that Belgian mine,
coal dust rooted in your every pore?
Would you have cried out so passionately for colour
except for the drabness of the potato fields, existence
(the patina of bacon smoke and dirty unpeeled potatoes)
shared with diggers, sleep
(the poor man's wealth) denied you?
Later, from that blazing bedroom of your yellow house at Arles,
would you have trudged against pain to the fierce wheat fields
except for those scores of rough-sketched peasants
always working—always in motion
(learning, under failure's flagellation, what old masters never had known)
Now, at last, in your paintings,
wheat is a crashing sea of sun, and cypress trees leap up like flame,
hills a tumultuous festure.
The French say, 'Bring up a raven and he will peck out your eyes'.
What had your furies done to you, Vincent,
when at Auvers you splattered canvas with that image of fear
Cornfield with Crows?
Contorted sky, writhing corn, menacing birds—
was it for these you shot yourself that afternoon?
But the crows were only burnt scraps, Vincent.
streeling on wind.
The Greenwood Competition
The Poetry Society is empowered by the executors of the late Mrs Julia Wickham Greenwood to offer annually the Shirley Carter Greenwood Prize of £20 for the best single poem in open competition.
Only one poem may be submitted by any one competitor, the length not to exceed 250 lines. No previously published poem may be entered. Entries should be addressed 'The Greenwood Prize', 21 Earls Court Square, London, S.W.5, and marked with a nom de plume, the full name and address of the author being given in a closed envelope bearing the pseudonym. A stamped, addressed envelope should also be enclosed if the poem is to be returned. The winning entry will be printed in The Poetry Review and may be reprinted at the discretion of the Editor, who may also reserve near winners for publication in The Poet'', Review. The closing date for 1969 is 31st July.
The Premium Competition No. 75
Oliver Cox, who judged these entries, writes:
The 75th Premium Competition attracted over eighty poems from poets young and old as far afield as the U.S., and West Indies. Several poets contrived to get more than one poem into the file and were disqualified.
Poems ranged from four-line epigrams to one of nearly five hundred lines of complicated and sustained witty doggerel, the Rhyme of St Decuman, by C. Seymour which is too long to publish and to which I award half prize shared with Halt at Sandhurst by Marion Mallorie, the two poems I enjoyed reading most, for entirely contrary reasons.
Some of the poems I re-read and regretfully laid aside were by Christopher Copeman, Michael Kendrick, Gigi Lord, Barbara Noel Scott, George Usher and Rosalind Wade.
HALT AT SANDHURST
Clouds, fast, moving, shapes changing
Sky, pale, blue, cold, whitening, greying.
Woman stooping, old muttering;
Basket empty, paper fluttering.
Gates newly painted, hedges clipped,
Trees lacy, patterning patterning.
Greens, light, dark, contrasting,
Tinges, red, old; autumn russetting.
Girl, hatless bony bent hurrying
Wheel glinting, silvery, sun:
Postman pedalling pedalling
Van, CL E M. B R O. G LAZ I E R.
Car turning, backfiring, backfiring.
Lorries roaring, heavy, tankers (two)
Y E L L O W.
Cars, humming humming racing.
Youth, short, squat, Fellow,
Lamp unlit, tall, poised leering,
Jaunty stranger jogging
Long old man, long grey hair.
Face at a window peering:
Blackbird on a roof, alert, watching
People standing on the bridge
Waiting Shivering :
Signals partly hidden, branches gaunt,
Little train coming coming
Brown, Green, Indigo,
Shaking rattling jibbering :
Engine driver hooting hooting,
Labourer, purple cap, young, grimy;
Little horse pricked up ears
Gipsies travelling :
Withered scrub, morning light,
Shadows disappearing :
Premium Competition No. 76
Joan Murray Simpson, who adjudicated, made the following comments:
In judging competitions the winning poem always seems to make an immediate impact on me, which persists throughout the second reading of all the entries.
Most of those that are not outstanding have one thing in common—a lack of tension, of that vitality and impulse which holds a good poem together and gives it impact. Two of these were of inordinate length and I would suggest that to cover successfully almost every aspect of the life of man requires a highly developed sense of proportion as well as enormous discipline.
I would like to comment on: Humpty Dumpty by Michael Johnson—an able vignette of childhood which, however, fell somewhat flat for me at the end; Welsh Rain by Ivor Folland—a capable piece of landscape and atmo¬sphere; Betty Parvin's Husbandry ending beautifully; The Spawn by Josephine Austin—marred by all those dashes and underlinings and the occasional flat-footed rhyme or near-rhyme but with 'heart and pen' in the right place; This Lake by Katherine Sparks : a light touch with rhyme and some subtleties but, I suggest, a little too full of artifice to succeed entirely; Mothers and Sons by G. Usher: complicated by a certain obscurity but almost a novelist's gift here, to evoke situations.
Among the poets competing is a maverick—Robert Gordon. Even his misses are more interesting than many people's hits. He undertakes difficult tasks : flashes of light, bursts of music, long reverberating lines pour from him, but he is in danger of being engulfed by his own material. In his long poem The Quickening, one is confused about the time sequence and often kept too long in suspense by his preferences for present participles and long marches before a full stop, but there are passages of the greatest delicacy and insight. Perhaps we cannot choose our angels but sometimes one wishes that a slightly more tractable one would choose Robert Gordon for his wrestling.
The runners-up were: Pamela Melnikoff's In the Martyrs' Forest, Jerusalem. She is incapable of writing anything negligible. Her work is always recognisable—rich, full of feeling, shapely and nourished by deep racial springs. Prefiguring (To Henry Moore) by Margaret Curry is well achieved, satisfying, economical. Lean Out by Helen Curry has power and atmosphere—a touch of Emily Bronte. The Old Ladies of Worthing by Freda Powell has a Betjemanlike gift for re-creating the feeling of seaside towns out of season and the pathos and pettiness of lonely old ladies.
I award the Premium Prize to Elisabeth Cluer for Lines from the Fourth Season because it has the inner tension referred to as well as a kind of clarity and poignancy that make it memorable.
LINES FROM THE FOURTH SEASON
Not any bone of yours
weighed on my bone your
cold hand never took
what was your own
not the light hare that then
leapt from her form ever returned to it.
Now that the warm
bright flesh can ache for you
not the quick heart
nor the eye fill for you
or the blood start
Nothing remembers you
but the thin bone
Premium Competition No. 77
This competition is held quarterly and is open only to members of The Poetry Society. An entrance fee of 2s. 6d. is charged and the total of the entrance fees forms the prize. It may be won outright by a single competitor or may be divided at the discretion of the Adjudicator. The poem itself will not be returned.
Only one poem may be entered by each competitor. It must be typed and must not have been previously published. Entries, bearing the author's name and address, should be sent to The Poetry Review, 21 Earls Court Square, London, S.W.5, and marked 'Premium Competition.' The closing date of the current competition is 31st December.
Beginning with this issue we shall identify each Premium Competition by the season in which the competition is announced in order to avoid confusion with numbers.
Membership of the Poetry Society
Full membership of the Poetry Society at an annual subscription of two guineas is open to people over the age of eighteen. Young people below the age of eighteen may apply for Associate Membership which entitles them to the same privileges at a reduced rate.
Affiliated or Corporate Membership is available to literary societies, libraries and educational establishments, etc.
Further information about the Society and its activities may be obtained from the General Secretary.
The Critical Service
The minimum fee to members is 5s. for two poems and 2s. for each additional poem. The fee to non-members is 5s. for each poem. Poems should be typed and a stamped, addressed envelope enclosed with all submissions.
Friday Evening Recitals
Admission : Members 2s. 6d. Non-members 5s.
* * *
The Young Poets' Group meets on the first Tuesday in every month at 7 p.m. The Discussion Group meets on the second Wednesday in every month at 7 p.m.
'Poetry Review' Back Numbers
Back numbers of The Poetry Review are obtainable from:
I. D. Edrich (Books), London, E.11
Tel. 01-989 9541
News from Centres and Affiliated Groups
Guildford, Nottingham, Suffolk, Torbay and York all announce that their regular monthly meetings will continue to be held throughout January, February and March.
The Guildford and West Surrey Centre announces that 1969 is its Silver Jubilee Year.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The