Editor’s Notes & Cover Art

About the Cover

Our cover design by John Pickard features “Cemetery, Juchitán, Oaxaca, 1988” by photographer Graciela Iturbide.

Iturbide is one of Mexico’s foremost contemporary photographers. Among her best-known works is Juchitán of Women, a decade-long project begun in 1979 that documented the Zapotec Indians.

Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942. After studying filmmaking, she moved into still photography and eventually apprenticed with Mexico’s greatest photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Solo exhibitions and retrospectives of her work have appeared throughout the world.

Photograph courtesy of Graciela Iturbide.

Special thanks to the International Center of Photography for its assistance.

Editor’s Notes

Every few years, like most publications, The Kenyon Review sends out a readership survey. We are eager to know something about the people who read this journal and, more recently, KROnline as well. After all, if we are to pursue our mission “to keep the flame of literature alive,” as well as to publish the very best literature from around the world, we need to know whom we’re reaching—your ages, your levels of education, those aspects of KR you read and enjoy, and those that aren’t of as much interest.

During the fall of 2010, we circulated such a survey, though this time we did it via our monthly electronic newsletter rather than the U.S. Mail. This not only saved us considerable expense in printing and postage, but it allowed us to reach the widest possible KR community of readers, writers, program participants, instructors, and friends. The response was gratifyingly swift and broad—and often fascinating.

No surprise that you are well-educated and well-read. Nor that you live in almost every corner of the U.S. and in many places across the globe as well. I am very pleased to know that almost 29 percent of you are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. We’ll continue to work to increase that percentage, because reaching younger readers is an essential aspect of our task, our challenge to help inspire emerging generations to care passionately about literature.

I am particularly pleased that over two-thirds of respondents read The Kenyon Review in print. Given the context, this is a striking result: after all, you were responding to a survey received electronically in our newsletter. What we didn’t anticipate, however, was a considerable confusion among many readers about the different identities or relationships among the publications we now offer. That’s my fault. What may seem perfectly clear within our offices in Gambier, Ohio, may be less so abroad.

To clarify then: The Kenyon Review, which you are reading at this moment, remains our flagship, a journal founded in 1939 by John Crowe Ransom, publishing the very best fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction by established authors and also dedicated to discovering the most exciting new voices from around the world. KR, as it is also known, is published quarterly in print and is now available electronically via iPad/iPhone apps, on the Kindle, and I have no doubt, soon in other formats as well.

KROnline, on the other hand, is entirely electronic and to be found at kenyonreview.org, our Web site. I urge you to visit. KRO has the same aspirations in terms of quality, but its aesthetic is designed to take advantages of the new technologies of the Internet. Pieces tend to be shorter, a little more experimental, perhaps a tad more “out there.” Readers—and writers—have been finding KRO very exciting. I believe it will continue to evolve as a timely complement to The Kenyon Review.

Then, of course, there’s the daily KR Blog. The riches of kenyonreview.org have unwittingly led to further confusion, I fear. We learned from the survey that readers and visitors found the Web site’s home page unclear to those who didn’t know in advance what they would encounter. We will work to differentiate our offerings more clearly.

Last, I was interested to learn that three of every four readers of The Kenyon Review are not themselves subscribers. I can only assume, in other words, that most are able to find KR at their libraries. I’m glad no matter how or where they read. Yet I am also alarmed by an implication of what may come: in this period of dire public finances, many libraries have been forced to shed periodicals. If this trend continues, many of our readers, those dependent on libraries, may find no KR on the shelves.

I am less concerned with the financial implications of lost library subscriptions than with what this means for another critical part of our mission as I understand it: allowing as many people as possible, young and old, near and far, to read and enjoy The Kenyon Review. Where will they turn? This will be an ongoing conversation.

— D. H. L.

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