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The Kenyon Review Newsletter February 2011

KR CoastersJoin KR at AWP!

Visit us February 2-5, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, February 5th, the bookfair, with over 500 tables, will be open to the public. KR will be at Table C31. Please stop by to say hello and pick up one of our lovely letterpressed coasters pictured above.

And when your book hunting is done, KR is sponsoring two readings:

Get ShortyGet Shorty: Readings from the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Friday, February 4th, at noon in the Virginia C Room in the Marriott Wardman Hotel, Lobby Level. A reading featuring new work by past winners of the KR Short Fiction Contest: Cara Blue Adams, Christopher Feliciano Arnold, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Megan Anderegg Malone, Nick Ripatrazone and Mika Taylor. FREE CHAPBOOK TO THOSE WHO ATTEND! Link to the invite for more details.

And a quick trip to the Asylum! A reading featuring Julia Story, Christie Ann Reynolds, Zach Savich, Shane McCrae, Jess Lacher, Becka Mara McKay, Hannah Sanghee Park, Daniel Khalastchi, Kevin Gonzalez, & Adam Fell. Friday, February 4th at 7:30pm, Asylum Bar: 2471 18th Street (Adams Morgan). Sponsored in conjunction with Rescue Press and Monsters of Poetry. Link to the invite for more details. The Asylum bar is a 15 minute walk from the conference hotel.

KR Short Fiction Contest: Submit Today!

KR Short Fiction Contest

The Kenyon Review is now accepting submissions for the fourth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest through February 28, 2011. The contest is open to all writers under 30 years of age. Submissions must be 1,200 words or less to qualify for the contest. Ron Carlson, celebrated author of four novels and five short story collections, will be the final judge.

Click here for full contest guidelines and to read the winning entries from 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose It

By James Flaherty, Consulting Editor

For those just tuning in, Why We Chose It responds to questions KR editors often receive. What kind of writing are we looking for? How do we know when a piece is right for us? (You can read the previous entries in this series here and here)

Anyone who’s spent significant time and energy submitting work for publication will shudder at the phrase “right for us.” As in, “we appreciate the opportunity to read your work, but it’s just not right for us.” The phrase is misleading, suggesting editors have “right” standards, an answer key for literary excellence. Perhaps some do, but in all likelihood editors mean the phrase merely as a gesture toward gut-feelings and reactions that are microscopic and accretive and very hard to talk about. If I can say anything about why KR chooses its pieces, it’s this: when a piece works, it just works. But for a prospective author this is hardly helpful.

For a better grasp on this editorial business, let’s consider Alex Epstein’s Lunar Savings Time, selections of which are currently featured on KROnline (incidentally, you can also hear a reading from the translator, Becka Mara McKay, at AWP).

Continue reading to learn why KR selected excerpts from Alex Epstein’s Lunar Savings Time for KROnline.

KR Reading SeriesKenyon College / KR Spring Reading Series

Join us for a stellar line-up of readings this February at Kenyon College:

Apply Now for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop!

KR Writers WorkshopOnline applications are now available for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, an intensely creative week-long series of writing workshops held June 18-25, 2011 on the campus of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

This year’s session includes workshops in fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction. Workshop leaders include:

Poetry: David BakerStanley Plumly
Literary Nonfiction: Rebecca McClanahanDinty W. Moore
Fiction: Lee K. AbbottGeeta KothariNancy Zafris

Click here to learn more about adult summer writing programs at Kenyon.

Apply Now for KR’s Young Writers Workshop!

Young Writers Workshop

The Kenyon Review is now accepting applications for its Young Writers Workshop, a creative writing adventure for 16-18 year olds in Gambier, Ohio. Two sessions will be offered this summer: June 26-July 9 and July 17-30, 2011. Young Writers is an intensive two-week workshop for intellectually curious high-school students who value writing. KR’s goal is to help students develop their creative and critical abilities with language—to become better writers and more insightful thinkers.

Click here to learn more about summer writing programs for high school students at Kenyon.

From the KR Archive

Lee K. Abbott is the author of Love is the Crooked Thing, Living After Midnight, Wet Places at Noon, and, most recently, All Things, All at Once: New & Selected Stories. In addition to KR, his fiction and articles have appeared in Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times Book Review, and Southern Review. His work has been included in Best American Short Stories and The O’Henry Awards. He currently teaches at The Ohio State University, where he is a Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and recipient of the 2004 Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. This summer, he will be an instructor in the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.

The Kenyon Review, Autumn 1989, Vol. XI, No. 4.

How Love is Lived in Paradise

Though I am still called Bubba by some I do and do not like, my real name is Cecil Fitzgerald Toomer, and this adventure that’s happened to me starts with the idea, no doubt loony to ordinary citizens in the big world, that what I know about love comes not from falling in it once, but from watching, years and years ago now, nearly one thousand yards of Super 8 movie in the cinder block film room at the University of New Mexico and seeing something in football that, by the end of it, had me quietly, well, weeping over the 265 pounds I was.

This was 1970, a year that seems like “yore” to the private sentimentalist I am, and I was in my second year as the linebacker coach for the Lobos. I’d graduated three years before, played a season and a half with the St. Louis football Cardinals as a late round draft choice, blew up one knee then its partner, and spent a summer wondering what would become of me until my old head coach, Mr. Emery Ewing, called up and asked how I’d like to work for him—which meant finding and then teaching huge American youngsters to be semi-bloodthirsty and entirely reckless. I could have the linebackers, he said, and be as fierce with them as Baytagh was with his Tartars. He was always fond of me, he said, considered me prime this-and-that, claimed I possessed a first-rate mind—the flattery of which I was happy to agree with. “You think about it, Bubba,” he said, his voice perhaps the tenth human thing I’d heard since the previous May. “You’re a born teacher, boy. I can see you now—kicking tail, rousing passions, the works.” Coach Ewing had a colonel’s shaved head and an unlucky man’s violent temper, and he was enough like my own father, who was dead then and probably mayor of the shoot’em up afterlife he believed in, that I said yes too loud and drove eighteen miles to tell a girl I’d haphazardly courted that we ought to get married.

Click here to finish this story.

From KRO

Have you been to KROnline lately? One surprise of our recent reader survey was that some of our readers—even some of you who receive our electronic newsletter or read the KR Blog—still don’t know that KR has an online literary journal with exciting new poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and literary reviews published every two weeks. Check out Tung-Hui Hu’s poem from last month’s issue, then click here to see our latest offerings.

Cosmos Revealed Behind
a Dense Curtain of Poppies

And each plant has an equivalent
star in the sky: to read leaves
as pages of starcharts, to navigate by

leaf of acanthus! O lovers, swear not
by the inconstant light of the olive tree.
Feed each other madder root
and take comfort in the thought
your bones grow red: your insides
dyed alizarin of planet Mars to help
find each other in the dark.
Greenhouses, lighthouses. The first

astronomers tended on hands and knees
the soil of the universe, smoothing
away moss, seeding by night.
Now our galaxy has the sixfold
symmetry of ornament on the tower of Alhambra,

shoots curled from stem looping
heaven and earth together. Trace
curlicues and rosettes with your finger.

The chamber sealed off to mortals but
open above, like a poppy.

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 BlogTyler Meier





November may be National Novel Writing Month, but by January, most of us are feeling distinctly less ambitious. As KR Managing Editor Tyler Meier found, where better to let your literary ambitions wane than on Twitter?


December 5, 2011 —
Tyler Meier

Here are some favorites from our recent #LessAmbitiousBooks twitter conversation, with authors noted after book titles by their twitter handles. Add some of your favorites if you are following. Can you think of any less ambitious books?

All the Regular Horses @mcnallyjackson
To Pet a Mockingbird @awinedrowning
The Calmer Sutra @EWoolerton
Lady Chatterly’s Facebook Friend @tomjokinen
Romeo and Julie @mcnallyjackson
Ten Years of Solitude @bugpaste
Moby Duck @mi_go
Actually, this Lightness is Pretty Bearable @theundomestic
Alice in the Living Room @devoncjohnson
1983 @Beckymew
The Adequate Gatsby @bookgaga
The English Patent @kenyonreview

Click here to see additional titles.


Contents Feb. 2011
Short Fiction Contest
Why We Chose It
KR Reading Series
Writers Workshop
Young Writers
From the Archives
From KROnline
From the KR Blog




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Winter 2011
Roger Rosenblatt,
Rosanna Warren,
the winners of the 2010 KR Short Fiction Contest,
& more




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Readings for Writers




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