Why We Chose It
By Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, Associate Editor
I loved being wicked without doing
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.
A Green Thought in a Green Shade
What’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.
Spread the Word! Adopt a Library!
Our 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?
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!
Bring 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.
KR Celebrates National Poetry Month
KR 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.
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.
Recent Book Reviews on KROnline
As 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:
One Minute Report on the One Minute Survey
We 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.
New and Notable
In 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.
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.
August 27, 2009 —
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.
Photographs of the
It’s as if every demon from hell with aspirations
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.
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
A poem moves forward,
a slow less and less heard
Contents Apr. 2011
Why We Chose It