About the Cover
Our cover design by John Pickard, part of the 70th anniversary series, features a photograph taken for a KR advertising campaign and subscription drive circa 1945.
The man holding the autumn 1945 issue of The Kenyon Review is believed to be Robert B. Brown, Class of 1911, who was then the secretary of Kenyon College.
The cover pictured was relatively new at the time, having been introduced in the fall of 1942. It was designed by the constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy, who was recommended to John Crowe Ransom by critic Malcolm Cowley.
Photographic research by Tom Stamp, college historian and keeper of Kenyoniana.
When, early on in my editorship, managing editor Cy Wainscott cajoled me into adding a note to the beginning of each issue, his notion was that I should offer pithy musings about this story or that poem from the pages to follow. Yes, yes, I know other editors do this. But I was reluctant then—I generally find such enthusiasms about work one has selected both dubious and redundant—and remain so.
As our readers know, I generally use the opportunity of a blank page or two to opine about literary matters such as the changing habits of the reading public, the collapse of commercial publishing, the philosophies which guide our pursuits in the first place. Or I announce various developments within the KR universe, from new writing workshops to our online features, and so on.
(On that note: do check out the elegant new Web site at kenyonreview.org!)
As a matter of fact, I don’t usually scour a table of contents before beginning these notes. Today, however, and for another reason entirely, I opened the spreadsheet for upcoming issues. And there encountered the lineup for KR Spring 2009—the names of authors, the titles of their work. Just that was enough to strike me with something like the surprise and delight of first discovery.
I’m not going to start listing specifics here. Pace, Cy. I don’t want to mention one or five authors at the cost of excluding fifteen others. And if you want to see the full list, just flip back a couple of pages.
Be it redundant or dubious, I am indeed flushed with enthusiasm. Some of these authors are just beginning their careers; others are old friends to our pages; still others, distinguished, are gracing us for the first time. Welcome all!
The real reason I take this opportunity is as a kind of tonic in a world of bad news for those of us who care about literature. Publishers who have stopped accepting new work altogether. Bookstores succumbing one after another, even those that have appeared healthy, like old Dutch Elms.
But here, in these pages, you’ll find stories and poems and essays that matter, that ripple with energy and freshness and power. Spring!
— D. H. L.