Given government advice in the UK and mandatory travel restrictions in most countries, in the interests of halting the spread of this virus we are cancelling all upcoming ‘in person’ events and meetings until further notice.
We have just learnt that John Batten died at the end of February. John, who was born on 23 March 1930, was Secretary of the Powys Society from 1992 to 1997 and editor of the Newsletter from November 1997 to July 2001. John and his wife Eve were much-valued presences, especially at meetings in Powys territory. They lived in Montacute. As the plaque on the right indicates, John was the founder of the Llewelyn Powys Birthday walk, an annual tradition that has remained unbroken for the last 25 years. (see 2019 events)
Paul Roberts (former Powys Society Chairman) says: ‘So sad to hear the news of the death of John Batten. He was a fine man, full of enthusiasm, energy and good humour and he worked tremendously hard for the Society.’
John's funeral will be held in St Catherine's Church, Middle St, Montacute TA15 6UZ at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 17 March. If you plan to attend please email John's daughter Helen Zisul firstname.lastname@example.org to enable her to get a sense of numbers attending.
Tributes and a memoir will appear in our July Newsletter.
1 March 2020 — Alliance of Literary Societies eNewsletter
The Spring/Summer 2020 issue of the Alliance of Literary Societies’ eNewsletter download here
24 February 2020 — la lettre powysienne
With acknowledgement and thanks to Jacqueline Peltier for her devoted work, we are pleased to add to our website the complete run of thirty-two issues of la lettre powysienne from Spring 2001 to Summer 2017. All issues are available in pdf, and a list of contents for each issue have been added to give a preview of what lies within.
Booking is now open for ‘Myth, Place, and Poetic Imagination’ — go to Conference Page
12 February 2020 — Tribute to George Steiner 1929–2020
As a tribute to George Steiner, who was a persistent champion of Powys, we have added to our website the transcription of his 1972 lecture ‘The Difficulties of Reading John Cowper Powys’. It is worth revisiting Steiner's reflections on why a writer of JCP’s stature is not recognised more widely: nearly 50 years after Steiner gave this talk, although his complaint about the lack of biographies and criticism has been to some extent remedied, many of the points he makes still apply. We also have a Bibliography of Steiner's writings on Powys compiled by Chris Thomas
Steiner's lecture was recorded at the 1972 John Cowper Powys Centenary Conference, and was transcribed by Timothy Hyman for The Powys Review,1 (Spring 1977). It is reprinted here by permssion of Belinda Humfrey, the Powys Review editor.
1 February 2020 — Powys Society Conferences 2002–2019
The Past Events page has been restructured as a year by year index to past conferences. Every conference between 2002 and 2019 now has its own page on the current website. Other past society events (meetings etc.) go back to 2014; earlier years will be added in due course.
18 January 2020 — additions to archives
Documents between 1967 and 1984: conference programmes, ad hoc newsletters, announcements, pleas for members to pay their subscriptions. A random mix of information about the activities of the Society and ephemeral memorabilia: itemised price lists... hand-drawn map of the route to Stephen Powys Mark’s house (where Gertrude Powys’s paintings were being exhibited in 1986).
29 November 2019 — Max Peltier
We are sorry to hear that Max, husband of Jacqueline Peltier, died on 29 November. He was instrumental in the creation of the powys-lannion website, helped produce la lettre powysienne and had a long association with the Powys Society. We send condolences to his son Jean-Francois who came to our 2019 Conference at Llangollen to take part in the tributes to Jacqueline.
27 November 2019 — Conference DVDs
View our new DVD page: now available in DVD format: our 2002 Conference In View of Glastonbury with contributions from Iain Sinclair, Colin Wilson, Margaret Drabble, P.J. Kavanagh, Timothy Hyman and Richard Perceval Graves. Our thanks to Raymond Cox.
November 2019 — New publications of Powysian interest
View our publications news page: a new edition of The Owl, The Duck, Miss Rowe! Miss Rowe!, and a new translation of The Book of Taliesin.
28 October 2019 — RIP Glen Cavaliero 1927–2019
Our President, Glen Cavaliero, has died aged 92. His advocacy for the work of John Cowper Powys, and his many years as President of the Powys Society will always be remembered with gratitude and affection.
We can be thankful that Glen was able to attend our 50th anniversary celebration in Cambridge this year, where Charles Lock read Tony Head's tribute to Glen (see NL97 p.15-16). Glen then read to us from his diary an account of his visit to John Cowper Powys in 1958. In retrospect that celebration in Glen's home city was a great opportunity to express our fondness and admiration for a vital link in the chain between the Powyses and the present members of the Society.
Seven archive documents covering the period from the 1967 meetings that led to the formation of the officially constituted Powys Society in 1969 are now available in a new archive section – see navigation bar drop-down menu under ‘The Society’.
14 October 2019 — Liam Hanley
We were sorry to hear of the recent death of Liam Hanley, who was JCP’s godson. The
funeral is to be at St Dominic's Priory. London NW5 at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 15 October. Family flowers only. It is also planned to hold a celebration of his life sometime next year - also probably in London.
Liam Hanley was the son of James Hanley whose correspondence with JCP was published last year, edited by Chris Gostick, who will be writing a fuller tribute for the Newsletter. Chris adds here:
Liam was always a great favourite with JCP and Phyllis when the two families lived close to each other in Corwen during the mid-1930s when he was still a young baby. He was always affectionately known as "Curley-Tops" by John Cowper because of his unruly shock of wiry dark hair! Liam always stayed in touch with them, visiting them at 1 Waterloo after they moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog on his regular trips back to Wales from London. One of the last letters in Powys and Lord Jim is from Liam to John and Phyllis about a planned visit to see them in May 1960. He always spoke with great affection about them both.
2 September 2019 — Alliance of Literary Societies eNewsletter
The Autumn 2019 issue of the Alliance of Literary Societies’ eNewsletter download here
31 August 2019 — Powys Books for sale
Black Pug Books
The Old Gallery
Wimborne Minster, Dorset.
01202 889383 / 07720 712707
Victoria Sturgess of Black Pug Books, a second-hand bookshop in Wimborne Minster, has recently acquired a large collection of all three Powys brothers' books, and books about them. Several are quite obscure, and there are also many first editions. Before putting them on general sale, Victoria offers Powys Society members first rummage among them.
VIEW LIST OF TITLES
20 August 2019 — David Jones remembers JCP
We have created a new page for audio / audiovisual material which currently includes the only known film clip of John Cowper Powys, preparing for a debate with Bertrand Russell in 1929, and — uploaded today — an audio recording (32:57 mins) of David Jones speaking at the 2017 Powys Society Conference about his childhood memories of living next to John Cowper Powys and Phyllis Playter at Cae Coed near Corwen.
24 July 2019 — Jacqueline Peltier
We were sad to learn that Jacqueline died on 24 July.
A tribute to Jacqueline by Pierrick Hamelin and Goulven Le Brech has been posted on their blog Entre les vagues.
The picture shown here was taken at Shakespeare & Co bookshop in Paris at the 2014 launch of Proteus and the Magician, the correspondence between JCP and Henry Miller, which Jacqueline had edited. Jacqueline was a committed Powysienne: she edited la lettre powysienne (2001-2017) and created the website www.powys-lannion.net. A vital part of the Powys community, and lively presence at our conferences, Jacqueline will be sadly missed.
5 July 2019 — TLS reviews new edition of Roy Fisher’s A Furnace (1986)
To the memory of John Cowper Powys 1872–1963.
From Fisher’s preface:
“The poem is also an homage, from a temperament very different from his, to the profound, heterodox and consistent vision of John Cowper Powys, to whom I owe thanks for some words of exhortation he gave me in my youth and in his old age. More importantly, I am indebted to his writings for such understanding as I have of the idea that the making of all kinds of identities is a primary impulse which the cosmos itself has; and that those identities and that impulse can be acknowledged only by some form or other of poetic imagination.”
10 June 2019 — Cecil Woolf
RIP Cecil Woolf, publisher of many volumes of John Cowper Powys’s letters and of the Powys Heritage Monographs.
We are grateful for his enthusiastic championing of the Powys brothers. Our condolences to Cecil Woolf’s family and friends; in particular Jean Moorcroft Wilson (pictured with him, left), whose obituary of her late husband is included in an appreciation of his life by Paula Maggio, the Virginia Woolf blogger. See our Newsletter 97 (July 2019) for a full tribute.
27 May 2019
Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance, Weymouth Sands and Maiden Castle are all available as Kindle eBooks. See publications.
JCP is mentioned in thisGuardian article (11 Mar 2019) about his friend James Purdy, who died 13 March 2009. Charles Lock, editor of The Powys Journal, keeper of Purdy's ashes, (and champion of his literary reputation), is taking Purdy's ashes to a tenth anniversary commemorative event, at which they will be interred beside the grave of Edith Sitwell.
Mar 2019 — Alliance of Literary Societies eNewsletter
The Spring 2019 issue of
the Alliance of Literary Societies’ eNewsletter download here
It is with great sadness that we report the death of JEFF
KWINTNER founder of the Village Press which reissued so many works by John Cowper
Powys in the 1970s. A truly remarkable individual to whom all Powysians owe a
debt of gratitude, directly or indirectly, a short notice will feature in the
July Newsletter and fuller tributes and an obituary of Jeff will appear in the
November Newsletter. In the meantime you may wish to read JEFF KWINTNER AND THE VILLAGE BOOKSHOP by Paul Roberts.
7 Jun 2018 — Happy Birthday Glen Cavaliero
Warmest congratulations to the Society’s President, GLEN CAVALIERO,
who celebrates his 91st birthday.
16 Aug 2014 — Review of A Glastonbury Romance in The Telegraph
“John Cowper Powys is a writer who changes how you
see the world: ”A Glastonbury Romance is deeply flawed, yet
Michael Henderson —
read full article
11 May 2014 — Book launch: Proteus in Paris
PROTEUS AND THE MAGICIAN —
The Letters of Henry Miller and John Cowper Powys
was launched at the famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, Paris
on Sunday 11 May at 5pm.
Outside Shakespeare & Co bookshop
Front row: Chris Thomas, Fawzia Assaad, Liliane Ruf,
Dana Wentworth, Jacqueline Peltier and Goulven Le
Second row: Marcella Henderson-Peal and Charles Lock.