About the Cover
Our cover design by Nanette Black features Perros Perdidos (Lost Dogs), Rajasthan, India, 1997, a platinum/palladium print by 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 the artist. Special thanks to the International Center of Photography for its assistance.
Every literary journal has its own aesthetic—a voice or style or feel that it comes to represent over a period of multiple issues and years. This may have to do with an explicit mission or ideology—formalist poetic structure, perhaps, or experimental fiction. Or it may be a reflection of the method of selection itself. For example, some journals manifest the tastes of an individual editor. Or the stories, poems, and essays collected in them may be the fruit of long conversations among members of an editorial board.
KR is something of a hybrid. While it’s true that I make the final decisions on what we publish—and for better or worse I’m the one to hold accountable—I am also very much aware that we are best served by stretching beyond my particular tastes. On many occasions David Baker or Nancy Zafris or one of our consulting editors will pass something along to me. You won’t like this, they say. It’s not to your taste. But publish it anyway.
Not always do I follow the advice. But often I am swayed. A story may be entirely successful and powerful in its own terms, even though it doesn’t necessarily speak to me. That’s just happened with one that Nancy urged me to reconsider. A poem’s resonance or meaning may be elusive on the surface, but DB vouchsafing its significance matters. The Kenyon Review is stronger for it.
This kind of creative exchange among KR‘s editors is especially important when it comes to the discovery of new voices, which is certainly a critical part of our role and mission. The energy and imagination of younger writers, finding fresh strategies, breaking rules, and extending conventions, may seem harsh or discordant at first. We work hard to keep our eyes and ears open, and we help each other in that task.
Vouchsafing excellent literature, establishing a reputation of reliability as well as a distinctive aesthetic, is going to be all the more essential in the era of the Internet. The challenge for The Kenyon Review, and for other journals born in the age of print, will be to establish an editorial credibility on the World Wide Web more or less equivalent to what we have achieved on paper. Indeed, the need will be even greater. Given the truly unlimited content available on anyone’s computer screen, the challenge is precisely to screen out the overwhelming mass. As KR has done for nearly seventy years, we will continue to select stories, poems, and essays that matter.
In that pursuit, I am delighted to announce that Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky has agreed to serve as associate editor of The Kenyon Review. A novelist, critic, and distinguished teacher, Sergei will take the lead in expanding our electronic offerings at KenyonReview.org, such as interviews, podcasts, discussions, and so on. He will also work to identify a wider circle of writers on whom to call for reviews, essays, and intellectual dialogue.
KR has always, until 1994 in any event, had both an editor and an associate editor. For financial reasons, we suspended that tradition. I am very excited about Sergei joining our editorial circle, and I am certain that, along with Nancy, David, Daniel Elihu Kramer, and our distinguished consulting and advisory boards, we will continue to strengthen what The Kenyon Review offers its readers.
—David H. Lynn