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The Kenyon Review Newsletter April 2011

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose It

By Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, Associate Editor

     I loved being wicked without doing
     anything mean.

          —Andrew Hudgins, “Helen Keller Answers
             the Iron,”
KR, Spring 2011

Bad jokes and great poems share a power to surprise us, to shatter the lacework of language and logic within which we hide, and to make us uncomfortable in our fragile skins. As Andrew Hudgins points out in his wonderful essay on a childhood fascination with sick jokes in the current issue of KR, they’re both, in William Carlos Williams’ phrase, “machines made of words,” but one might imagine them more accurately as bombs, wound tightly around a spring-loaded violence of thought. And they’re also rarely in good taste.

Continue reading to learn why KR selected Andrew Hudgins’s “Helen Keller Answers the Iron” for the Spring 2011 issue.

A Green Thought in a Green Shade

Writers WorkshopWhat’s summer like in Gambier? It’s a time when the world goes quiet: some days, the only sounds are the rustling of pages turning and the whisper of scribbling pens. Every June and July, Gambier becomes a village of writers. This year it all begins with the arrival of the KR Writers Workshop on June 18, a week of intense workshops, readings, and, yes, writing. Unlike many summer workshops, the KR Writers Workshop is described by students who return every year as hard work, “bootcamp for writers.” It’s a place for planting seeds, not showing off your harvest. Writers stay for a week, but they leave with enough rough drafts and new directions to keep them busy for the rest of the year.

Click here to learn more about KR’s summer writing programs.

Spread the Word! Adopt a Library!

Adopt a LibraryOur Fall 2010 survey results suggest that three out of four readers of The Kenyon Review read the journal in local or school libraries. But many librarians have found their budgets for periodicals slashed, and quality literature—yes, even The Kenyon Review!—has begun disappearing from many library shelves. How can we reach, how may we serve, those readers whose access to literature depends on libraries?
Please join us in our efforts to keep the flame of literature alive for all readers! You can now adopt a school or public library—in your community or in a community where the need is even greater—and guarantee that KR remains on their shelves. At KR, we believe that literature can change the world, but only if the world can find it.

Click here to order a subscription for your local library today.

Submissions Update from KR’s Managing Editor

Tyler Meier writes: It is late March as I type this, and we are still carefully reading our submissions from the 2010-11 reading period, with just under 15% of the total submissions waiting for a response. If you haven’t heard from us yet, please continue to be patient! We’ll have responses out to all our submitters very soon. Thanks from all at KR, as ever, for giving us the chance to read your work. We’ll be open for new submissions on Sept. 15th, 2011.

Join KR at the Juniper Literary Festival!

The 2011 Juniper Literary Festival, April 15 & 16, at the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is dedicated this year to new writers and new writing, showcasing first and second book poets and writers alongside dozens of independent journals and presses. And KR will be there! Stop in and see us at the book fair!

Spring 2011Bring KR Into Your Classroom!

Are you a teacher planning your creative writing course for next year? You can use KR—or many other literary magazines—as a course text through the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Literary Magazine Adoption Program for Creative Writing Courses.

Learn more about the Lit Mag Adoption program here.

KR Celebrates National Poetry Month

Poem in Your PocketKR will mark National Poetry Month with a series of readings and other events, including Kenyon College’s fourth annual “Poem in Your Pocket Day.” As part of its celebration, Kenyon will host a series of readings and lectures throughout the month of April in the Cheever Room of Finn House and at other locations across the Kenyon campus.

Find the full schedule of events here.

Micro Interview

On Minute Organisms, Generosity, Confused Latin Students, and Rilke: A Micro-Interview with Seth Fried

KR is starting a new project—we’ll release a series of micro-interviews around the publication date of each upcoming issue of KR. The Spring 11 issue of KR came out on March 10th, featuring Seth Fried’s story “Animalcula: A Young Scientist’s Guide to New Creatures.” Subscriptions, ebook editions and individual copies of the issue are available here.

Kate Kremer: What’s one book, contemporary or otherwise, that you wish you had written?

Seth Fried: I think the best books are the ones where the author has the easiest access to his or her own personality. All the great writers seem to have a powerful understanding of who they are and how they relate to the world. So in order to write someone else’s book, I would have to be a different person. In that sense, as much as I love certain books, it would be strange to see my name on any of them.

Click here to read the whole interview.

Recent Book Reviews on KROnline

Romey's OrderAs newspapers and magazines cut back on their book sections, or allow them to vanish altogether, there are fewer and fewer places to find reviews of poetry and literary fiction. But at KR, we’ve made a commitment to publishing thoughtful, timely reviews of some of the most important books to appear each year. We’ll print short reviews online, while pieces that take a longer view will continue to appear in the magazine. Here’s a sample of some of the reviews we’ve published recently:

  1. Dan Chelotti on Kevin Young’s The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing
  2. Dan Rosenberg on Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl
  3. Jason Schneiderman on Atsuro Riley’s Romey’s Order
  4. Jay Thompson on Sarah Gridley’s Green is the Orator, John Cross’s Staring at the Animal, and Lance Phillips’s These Indicium Tales
  5. Alexander Yates on Benjamin Percy’s The Wilding
  6. Jeremy Bass on James Longenbach’s The Iron Key

One Minute Report on the One Minute Survey

Survey Chart 1We extend a huge thanks to all who took part in the inaugural KR One Minute survey. KR asked questions about how our readers like to read—and learned a few things. More than 75% of you read online, and nearly 50% of you own e-readers (or will buy one), with that same percentage participating in the e-books market. For those KR readers who already own an e-reader, the Kindle appears to be the device of choice—but only half as popular as the old desktop for getting your digital literary fix. As a part of your fix: be sure to check out KROnline, our digital publishing space with free content as well as KR’s mobile editions of the print issue.

Click through to see graphs for each survey response, and stay tuned for a new survey in the May newsletter.

New and Notable

Fasting for RamadanIn April of 2011 Tupelo Press will publish Fasting for Ramadan, a collection of lyrical essays and reflections from Kazim Ali on the 30-day rite of daytime abstinence, purgation, and prayer practiced by Ramadan observers. The volume collects daily writings composted during two cycles of the annual observance. From the jacket copy:

“Kazim Ali’s searching descriptions of the Ramadan sensibility and its arduous but liberating annual rite of communal fasting is sure to be a revelation to many readers—intellectually illuminating and aesthetically exhilarating.”

Readers of the KR Blog will recognize many of Ali’s blog posts from his 2009 Ramadan series collected in the new volume, and we’ve included a link to an entry for this month’s “From the Blog” feature. Be sure to check out this new book! Preorders available at the Tupelo Press link above.

From the KR BlogKazim Ali




In honor of the publication of Kazim Ali’s Fasting for Ramadan, we’re looking back at a blog entry from his original 2009 posts on the KR Blog.

Ramadan Notes, Late Morning 6

August 27, 2009 —
Kazim Ali

I find myself sleeping more. And eating less, even when it is time to eat.

Rain is trickling down the gutter outside, the air is a beautiful grey.

Why have I always—always—loved grey cloudy days, rainy days even better, and not summer rain either, big warm drops splashing down, no, I love the cold needling rain of spring and autumn, a drizzle, so thick you can’t feel it but arrive home thoroughly soaked.

The soaking I think: to be covered, suffused, bathed, owned, by something you didn’t even know was around you.

Click here to finish reading this blog post.

From KRO

Photographs of the
Interiors of Dictators’ Houses

It’s as if every demon from hell with aspirations
toward interior design flew overhead and indiscriminately
spouted gouts of molten gold, that cooled down
into swan-shape spigots, doorknobs, pen-and-inkwell sets.
A chandelier the size of a planetarium dome
is gold, and the commodes. The handrails
heading to the wine cellar and the shelving for the DVDs
and the base for the five stuffed tigers posed in a fighting phalanx:
gold, as is the samovar and the overripe harp
and the framework for the crocodile-hide ottoman and settee.

Click here to read the rest of this poem.

KROnline is the online complement of The Kenyon Review. New fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews are published on a biweekly basis. Check back often to read some of the most cutting edge material you’ll find anywhere on the web. Click here to see our latest offering.

From the KR Archive Schwartz

In 1959, Delmore Schwartz became the youngest recipient of the Bollingen Prize, awarded for a collection of poetry published that year, Summer Knowledge: New and Selected Poems. Three years later, he was teaching at Syracuse University when KR published a selection of new poems.

The Kenyon Review, Spring 1962, Vol. XXIV, No. 2.

The Journey of a Poem Compared to
All the Sad Variety of Travel

A poem moves forward,
       Like the passages and percussions of trains in progress
       A pattern of recurrence, a hammer of repetitive occurrence

              a slow less and less heard
              Low thunder under all passengers
Steel sounds tripping and tripled and
Grinding, revolving, gripping, turning, and returning
As the flung carpet of the wide countryside spreads out on
                     each side in billows

Click here to read the rest of this poem.


Contents Apr. 2011

Why We Chose It
Summer in Gambier
Adopt a Library
Submissions Update
Juniper Lit Fest
Lit Mag Adoption
Poem in your Pocket
One Minute Interview
Recent Book Reviews
New and Notable
From the Blog
From KROnline
From the Archive




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