6 MAY 1972, Page 19


Gollancz are to be congratulated on securing Kevin Crossley-Holland as an editor and director, in place of Giles Gordon who will be leaving the firm in mid-June. Much of Kevin Crossley-Holland's previous time in publishing was devoted to building up a poetry list for Macmillans. Since his recent appointment as a radio producer for the BBC, this list has been in danger of stagnating, for there has been no one at Macmillans sufficiently interested in poetry actively to maintain its development. It remains to be seen whether poets like Elizabeth Jennings, R. S. Thomas (whose first volume under the imprint has yet to appear), Geoffrey Grigson, Charles Causley and George Macbeth will decide to stay with Macmillans, or choose to move — perhaps to Gollancz where Kevin CrossleyHolland will be starting up a poetry series.

One amusing consequence of his new appointment is that for the second time he finds himself confronted by the task of publishing his own book. Some time ago Giles Gordon commissioned a book about islands around the British coast from Crossley-Holland. Called Pieces of Land, it is due to be published by Gollancz in September. Giles Gordon's own work has most recently been published by Allison and Busby, and unless he now decides to join Penguins, who are publishing his latest novel, he will have avoided a similar embarrassment.

Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd have apparently been ringing round to literary editors to reassure them after Joynson-Hicks, the solicitors, circulated a letter on behalf of The Process announcing their application for a writ. The offending book was The Family by Ed Sanders, a sensationalised documentary account of the exploits of the Manson gang. In describing the Manson cult of mystical hysteria, Ed Sanders seems to have suggested connections with The Process who claim to have had "their good reputation tarnished.” Although Hart-Davis were given only two days to prepare an affidavit against the injunction, they went ahead, against the advice of their legal advisers, on the grounds that they would have lost a great deal of money if they had to pulp the 4000 copies already printed and distributed to the bookshops. Fortunately the judge threw out the injunction, although, of course, The Process may still sue.

The Process, or to give it its full name The Process Church of Final Judgement, is an extremely odd cult, as above-board and generally desirable as the Scientologists, which believes that Jehovah, Lucifer and Satan are three Godheads, to be given equal veneration. During its short residence in London, for which it rented an extremely elegant Mayfair house, it achieved a small notoriety by sending black--cloaked and very Aryan acolytes out into the streets selling a magazine packed with fundamentalist slogans of a violent and morbid character. It also obtained subscriptions from monied young gentlemen and has now built itself a temple in Mexico_