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Kenyon Review
NEWSLETTER | APRIL 2017

Why We Chose It
BY JOHN KINSELLA, INTERNATIONAL EDITOR
“Animals” by Ali Alizadeh appears in the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of the Kenyon Reivew.

Why We Chose ItWe take our own coordinates and variables to any reading of a text—be it a novel, a short story, an article in a newspaper, a film, a poem. The “meaning” of a work is going to be more “intended” and maybe more obvious in, say, a newspaper article than in a poem (though in this age of alternative-news truths, this is increasingly doubtful). Who we are and why we are as we are (life experience, if nothing else) necessarily makes readings of texts infinite and certainly unstable. Read the rest of “Why We Chose It.”

Writing Nature, Writing Science
Science Writing SymposiumJoin us at Kenyon College on April 12-14 for a fascinating symposium on science and nature writing. Our guests will include Andrea Wulf, winner of the James Wright Award for Nature Writing, co-sponsored by KR and The Nature Conservancy, for her book The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, and Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape. Read more about the science writing symposium.

KR Celebrates National Poetry Month
Poem in Your PocketKR will mark National Poetry Month with Kenyon College’s annual “Poem in Your Pocket Day” celebration on April 27th, hiding poems all over campus and offering a chance for the KR student associates to share their poems with each other. In the evening, we will host a music and poetry performance of an original song cycle composed by musician Gregory Uhlmann and featuring poems by KR’s poetry editor David Baker. Please plan to join us in the Horn Gallery at 7 p.m.!

Speak Up!
It is perhaps only when a once-held and shared belief appears to be dying that an act of Congress begins to read a bit like poetry. In March, the current administration confirmed that the proposed budget for 2018 eliminates a number of independent agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts. As the budget has now entered the review process, it is crucial that we in the literary community act and make our thoughts on this matter known to our congressional representatives. Read more.

Former KR Young Writer Publishes First Book

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded

Congratulations to Molly McCully Brown on the publication of her first book, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017). Brown attended our 2008 Young Writers Workshop and was the 2008 winner of the Kenyon Review’s Grodd Poetry Contest for her poem, “Terra Incognita.”

In her debut poetry collection, Brown gives voice to the patients, doctors, and other participants once connected to the mental institution which served as a hub for sterilization during America’s eugenics movement in the early to mid-1900s. The actual residential hospital was located in Amherst County, Virginia, just fifteen minutes away from Brown’s childhood home. Read more.

“The most fun I’ve ever had in class!”: KR’s Nature Writing Workshop
JULY 8-15, 2017
Nature WritingIf you enjoy writing poems or essays about the environment, come explore nature’s wonders in this inquiring, imaginative workshop. During morning workshops, instructor David Baker guides the class through pastoral, bucolic, idyllic, and sublime poems and essays on the page. In the afternoon, biology professors lead field explorations in the lush Ohio countryside surrounding Kenyon College. Walk the prairie, hold a blue bird, learn the language of fireflies, and observe nature’s complex beauty in detail. Through this combination of workshop and field studies, you’ll learn to engage description and to find new metaphors. One of last year’s participants proclaimed “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in class!” Find more information and application instructions here.

The Translator’s Voice: A Polyglot Workshop
JULY 8-15, 2017
Translation WorkshopThis non-language specific, KR translation workshop will offer an opportunity for aspiring and mid-career literary translators with a variety of professional backgrounds to find their translator’s voice through close reading and experimentation with language and style from their strongest second language into English. Workshop instructors are Elizabeth Lowe, founding director of the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Illinois, and Katherine M. Hedeen, Professor of Spanish and Translation at Kenyon College. The workshop will be conducted seminar-style, and activities will focus on translation as a cross-cultural activity, using theoretical readings and examples of master translators’ work as guides. Read about the workshop and find application instructions here.

Creative Writing Workshop for High School Teachers
July 8-13, 2017
Teachers WorkshopDesigned for high school teachers who love to write, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop for Teachers combines the generative spirit of the Kenyon summer writing workshops with a new focus on classroom practices meant to encourage student creative writing. Our five-day intensive is part writers’ retreat and part professional development, exposing teachers to a range of prompts and strategies meant to inspire their own work as well as the work of future students. A .25 credit is offered by Kenyon College. Come to reconnect with your own inner writer—the one often lost beneath piles of grading!—and leave with new work and new techniques for incorporating creative writing and contemporary literature into your classroom teaching. Limited scholarship funds are available. More information and application instructions may be found here.

New in KR Podcasts
KR PodcastThis month, graphic journalist and 2016 MacArthur Fellow Lauren Redniss, author of Thunder and Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future, talks with Associate Editor Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky about drawing with words and writing with images. Redniss argues that the national conversation about weather and climate has moved beyond scientific data to impact human experience: “People are noticing patterns in their own daily lives. People have their own data sets. They don’t even need a panel of scientists convening to tell them that climate change is happening. People are noticing that this pond is now dried up, the winters feel different than they did. So people have their own information that they’re gathering.” Her award-winning book narrates our daily fascination with the weather, along with the way that climate change has transformed that experience into a drama of global survival. Listen to it!

From KROnline: Uzumasa Limelight
BY LISA CHEN
Lisa ChenVillage East Cinema: the twilight show of Uzumasa Limelight.

I lean into the swinging door of Theater 3. The room swooshes open,

empty as a toothless mouth. I am inside a secret. The hero

in the film is a kirare-yaku: his purpose is to die in sword fights

in the movies. He has died some 50,000 times.

The art of dying in samurai movies is dying.

Read the rest of this poem

Piano Practice
BY DEREK WALCOTT
Kenyon Review Cover Winter 1980From the Kenyon Review, Winter 1980, New Series, Vol. II, No. 1

We remember Derek Walcott, who passed away at the age of 87 on March 17 in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, where he was born. Read a remembrance by Ronald A. Sharp here.

April, in another fortnight, metropolitan April.
Light rain-gauze across the museum’s entrance,
like their eyes when they leave you, equivocating Spring!
The sun dries the avenue’s pumice façade
delicately as a girl tamps tissues on her cheek;
this is my spring piece, can you hear me, Laforgue?


Read the rest of “Piano Practice.”

From the KR Blog: I Turned Off News Notifications and Realized the Importance of the Humanities
BY DOUGLAS RAY
March 13, 2017
Douglas RayJust after the winter break in 2012, when I was teaching English at Indian Springs School in Alabama, I had a new student join my class. The social and political upheaval in Damascus had made it difficult for him to go to school in Syria, and so he joined our community. We’ve stayed in touch since I’ve moved to Western Reserve Academy, since he’s made his way through college, and as the world has shifted into a world where I wonder if that passage from Syria to America today would have been as seamless.
Read the rest of the essay.

A Micro-Conversation with Jaya Savige
Jaya SavigeJaya Savige’s poem “Fort Dada” appears in the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of the Kenyon Review.

The poem seems to begin and end, or at least conclude by gesturing, at the place it started. What does the full-circle nature of the presented story offer to the motif of repetition?

The loop you’re talking about is also hinted at in the title (“Fort Dada”), a mashup of Tzara’s moniker for his modernist poetics and the famous “fort/da” game that Freud observed his grandson playing in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which the little boy acquires language while seeking to master the absence of his mother: that is, by rolling a cotton-reel out of his cot, exclaiming “fort” (“gone”), and making his mother retrieve it for him, exclaiming “da” (“there”). Read the rest of the interview.

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The Kenyon Review is supported in part by generous grants from the Ohio Arts Council,
the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Smart Family Foundation.
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