Simon Schama to Receive 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
The Kenyon Review has selected historian, essayist and critic Simon Schama as the winner of the 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.
Join Us at the KR Writers Workshop
Couldn’t make it to the KR Writers Workshop this year? Now you can join us online for a series of podcasts of readings and literary discussions held throughout the week. Listen to readings by workshop instructors Lee K. Abbott, David Baker, Jane Hamilton, Geeta Kothari, Rebecca McClanahan, Dinty W. Moore, Stanley Plumly, and Nancy Zafris. Or enjoy the work of workshop fellows Jennifer Delahunty, Kristin Ginger, Helen Hooper, Jess Lacher, Jennifer Luebbers, Jenny Patton, Sejal Shah, and Hope Maxwell Snyder.
Anxious about reading your work aloud? You can find a series of “tips for holding your own at readings” from Jess Lacher. Are you a poet wondering how to explain exactly what it is that you do to friends, neighbors, or strangers on airplanes? Listen in on Jake Adam York’s “Coach Class, Center Seat: How the Poet Explains What He/She Does (And How This Can Get You In, or Into Trouble).” Struggling with the role of a young writer in the new millennium? Join us for Hannah Pittard’s “Being a Debut Author in the 21st Century” or Gretchen E. Henderson’s “Generating Genres: Hybrid Writing.” Finally, enjoy a reading by Amit Majmudar from his new novel Partitions.
We can’t promise that you’ll share all the pleasures of spending a week in Gambier in the company of talented writers, but take a few minutes to listen to these podcasts, and you’ll find something to inspire your writing this summer!
Sumer Is Icumen In!
If you’re one of our lucky subscribers, it’s coming straight to your mailbox. Get your copy of KR’s summer issue today, and enjoy fiction by Ron Carlson, Rachel Cantor, Vladimir Makanin, Robert Pope, and E.B. Vandiver, poetry by Alice Fulton, Rodney Jones, Bruce Beasley, David Bottoms, Grace Schulman, Frank X. Gaspar, Maureen McLane, Jennifer Militello, Stanley Plumly, and Adam Zagajewski, as well as stimulating essays by Jeffrey Meyers, Matt Donovan, and Rod Mengham.
Click on any of the blue links above to read excerpts/short works from Summer 2011.
Live Blogging The Summer, All Summer Long
You may have noticed that the KR blog has been more active the past few weeks, and if you haven’t had a chance to stop by recently, consider this sentence a welcome mat. Come by. You’ll find regular great news posts by these excellent writers, with more writers to join on through the summer—pick up the RSS feed, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter—we’ll let you know when there are fresh posts by this current cast (click on any of the names below for brief bios!):
Young Writers Take Kenyon by Storm
We’ve just welcomed ninety of the most talented high-school aged writers to The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop in beautiful Gambier, Ohio. The 2011 program will host writers from 40 states and seven foreign countries. The geographic and socioeconomic diversity in the program, a hallmark of its success in recent years, comes through significant support from donors who share our passion for education and the written word. What they’ve enabled the program to become is truly remarkable: through fundraising from the annual KRALA dinner, annual foundation support, and individual gifts, we will be awarding nearly $125,000 in financial aid this summer to worthy young writers with demonstrated need.
KR For A Song
What is it about KR’s Consulting Editors that inspire songwriters? A recent piece on Esquire.com entitled “30 Summer Songs Every Man Should Listen To” named as its “official song of the summer” “Anna Sun” by Cincinnati-based upstarts Walk the Moon. And, yes, that’s KR Consulting Editor Anna Sun, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Kenyon College and author of a volume of short fiction published in Chinese. Fans of the poet Saskia Hamilton know we’ve been down this road before: Saskia shared her talents with KR as a Consulting Editor back in 2002, long before Ben Folds immortalized her on his album “Lonely Avenue.”
And so, for any aspiring songwriters out there, here’s a convenient link to our current masthead. Go ahead! Sing their praises!
A New Way to Search KROnline
Now it’s easier than ever to find the content you want on KROnline. We’re pleased to announce a new genre index of all pieces featured on the KR Web site. Go to the main KRO index page and click on one of the genre links at the top. You can also continue to search by author name, reviewer, and interview subject below.
Readers may argue about the best single issue of any literary journal, but for poets, Winter 2001 may rank among the most powerful issues of KR’s new series: it included new poems by Louise Glück, Seamus Heaney, Jorie Graham, Linda Gregerson, Paul Muldoon, Debora Greger, Daniel Mark Epstein, Jane Hirshfield, Forrest Gander, Rod Mengham, Brigit Kelly, Michael Ryan, Phillis Levin, Eric Pankey, Peter Sacks, and John Koethe. In 2001 Louise Glück was awarded the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, given biennially for a poet’s lifetime achievement. Our Winter issue included several pieces by and about Glück, including an essay by Linda Gregerson.
The Kenyon Review, Winter 2001, Vol. XXIII, No. 1.
Dream of Lust
After one of those nights, a day:
Where did it come from,
June 9, 2011 —
There’s a lot to be asked, and a lot to be said, about a poet’s first book. Poets can agonize over whether to go one way or another, whether to publish with a smaller press or hold out for a larger and more prestigious one, whether to play the contest game or go another way, whether to write a manuscript that’s got a “theme” or “angle” or “project” or instead to put together something that at once is more eclectic and more indicative of a “voice.” And readers learn a great deal about a poet from his or her first book, even though there are some long-established poets—like Seamus Heaney, W. S. Merwin, and Adrienne Rich, just to name a few—whose first books were not very reliable in suggesting what would come later on.
When we ask such questions, when we answer them, when we examine poets’ first books, we’re looking for the seeds or principles of the art, but as well many of us are trying to understand the book of poems, or more specifically the first book of poems, as a genre in itself, a genre whose realization and execution are conditioned by ever-shifting contexts.
But what about the first books poets read, or the first books they bought?
You were not there in biology class on the day we learned pithing, on the day the teacher demonstrated how to slide an instrument into the base of a frog’s skull, how to sever the brain from the spinal cord, how the animal remains alive but no longer sentient, how you can open it up and see the heart pumping, the numb body still pursuing its work. And you were not there years earlier, when they tried to keep me from this life, those humane friends of my parents who gave me a pet tadpole for my seventh birthday, explaining how I didn’t have to harm it to see inside its transparent skin, explaining how I could grow up with it, helping it become a frog. The company that sells those tadpoles says it wants to render dissection unnecessary, to keep us from opening something up to look inside it. I donated that tadpole to my second-grade classroom. I salted the slugs on the sidewalk outside my house, watching them evaporate before my eyes. I learned to pith a frog, learned to tease the layer of adipose, that yellowed girdle, from the organs tucked beneath it, learned that people who say there’s more than one way to skin a cat are people who have never been asked to skin a cat. You were not there for any of this, not there when I sliced through a sternum, not there when I siphoned blood from a pony named Patience, not there when I read in the shadow of the stallion whose punctured throat wept onto the pages of my novel. You were not there in the years of study, did not know how well I had mastered my craft, how I learned to reach in and grasp the heart of a thing, to feel its warmth dissolving in my palm.
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.