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The Kenyon Review Newsletter November 2010

Why We Chose ItWhy We Chose It

By David Lynn

This month, we launch an occasional series by the editors of The Kenyon Review and KROnline in response to questions we’re often asked: what are we looking for from hopeful writers? How do we recognize when a submission is special enough to warrant publishing?

Continue reading to learn why KR selected Elizabeth Chandler’s “Blue Bear” for the Winter 2011 issue.

Amazon.com Supports KR Short Fiction Contest

KR Short Fiction ContestWe are excited to announce that Amazon.com, in one of their first grants in support of a literary journal, will provide funding for the Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. The award reflects Amazon.com’s commitment to supporting the work of new and developing writers. It also affirms the longtime mission of The Kenyon Review to discover the most promising voices of a new generation of writers.

Learn more about the Amazon.com grant and the KR Short Fiction Contest.


KR will host a reading at the 2011 Associated Writers & Writing Programs conference in Washington, D.C. featuring winners and runners-up from previous KR Short Fiction contests—plan to join us!

Click here to read the winning entries from 2008 and 2009.

Get KR on your Kindle!

KR on Kindle

Looking to Kindle your passion for great new writing? KR is now available on Kindle for only $3.99 per issue! Get our Fall issue, with exciting new work by W.S. Merwin, Joyce Carol Oates, John Gallaher, Carl Phillips, Mary Jo Bang, Timothy Liu, Jane Rogers, and Amit Majmudar delivered to you instantly.

A new KR on Kindle reader writes: “I just want to send you a huge THANK YOU! for making KR available as a Kindle book. I live in Greenland and being able to get KR instantly (instead of 6-8 weeks later in the mail) is fantastic! Yes, I have gone from paperbased subscriber to online pay-per-magazine buyer, BUT I now buy the magazine when it is published because that is usually when I feel like reading it! Wonderful. THANKS!”

Is that The Kenyon Review in your pocket?

iPad AppKR launches Apple App

In partnership with our friends at Electric Literature, KR is excited to announce the launch of an Apple application that is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Priced at $3.99, each purchase includes the Summer 2010 issue of the magazine gratis! Each subsequent issue will also be produced for the app and priced at $3.99, a savings of over 60% off the single issue print price. Whether on paper or in pixels, take the great writing in each KR with you now, wherever you go—in your pocket or in your backpack.

Are We Being Followed?

Twitter/FacebookIf you haven’t yet, take a second to follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook—you’ll get the most timely updates on all KR‘s doings,including info about our authors, upcoming events and deadlines, publishing releases, subscription offers, and other KR news. We’re there. Join us.

Kenyon Review Literary Festival

Join us at the KR Literary Festival!

On November 6, W.S. Merwin, Poet Laureate of the United States and winner of the 2010 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, will deliver the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture on the Kenyon College campus in Gambier, Ohio. Other events taking place during the two-day festival include poetry workshops, readings, book discussions and lectures, a poetry hike featuring Merwin’s work, a literary magazine and book fair, and a panel discussion on the art of translation.

For more information on dates, times, and specific locations please visit the Kenyon Review Literary Festival website. All events are free and open to the public.

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize

The seventh annual Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers is now accepting entries! The prize, which is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world, is juried by David Baker, KR’s poetry editor.

Students are invited to submit one poem via an online submission system beginning November 1. Visit KR’s Web site for a link to the contest submission page. The contest will close on November 30.

For more information on how to enter, click here.

Donate today!

Make an Online Donation to KR Today

“My first issue of the Kenyon Review came yestiddy, and I felt very learned sitting down reading it.”
                                —Flannery O’Connor

Help support the early work of today’s Flannery O’Connors who are waiting to be found in every issue of The Kenyon Review.

If you like receiving your Kenyon Review in the mail, or on the web, or in your inbox—then take a minute to support KR by donating today. Now, more than ever, we need your help.
Online giving is simple and quick, and your gift is deductible. Reader support ensures a storied future for KR. Each gift, no matter the size, makes a critical difference. Give today!

From KRO

On November 4, U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin will accept the 2010 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement at a gala dinner in New York City. Merwin received a Kenyon Review Fellowship in 1954 when the journal’s founding editor, John Crowe Ransom, identified him as a young poet of exceptional promise and manifest talent. Merwin has often credited the fellowship with sustaining and encouraging him during the early stages of his career. “Homecoming” currently appears in KR’s Fall issue, as well as on KROnline.


Once only when the summer
was nearly over and my own
hair had been white as the day’s clouds
for more years than I was counting
I stood by the garden at evening
Paula was still weeding around
flowers that open after dark
and I looked up to the clear sky
and saw the new moon and at that
moment from behind me a band
of dark birds and then another
after it flying in silence
long curving wings hardly moving
the plovers just in from the sea
and the flight clear from Alaska
half their weight gone to get them home
but home now arriving without
a sound as it rose to meet them

Click here to read more Merwin poems on KROnline

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.

Tyler MeierFrom the KR Blog


Till There Is No Night: W.S. Merwin’s Writing Prompt For You

October 14, 2010 —
Tyler Meier

Here is how a tongue becomes a bell.

Below is the text of a post post-script in a letter W.S. Merwin set to John Crowe Ransom in 1953. The occasion for the letter was both disappointment and business; Merwin was responding to the news that he had not received a fellowship from KR (he would receive it when he reapplied for the fellowship in 1954, along with a fiction writer named Flannery O’Connor.)

The business was about a poem that Ransom had accepted for The Kenyon Review entitled “Canso.” You can find the published version in Autumn 1953 issue of KR, which has been scanned and is available via the KR archives on JSTOR.

But enough factual context. Here’s another truth: Below, in an ancient script, on brittle parchment, W.S. Merwin had given a writing prompt FOR YOU! Could you make a poem that follows the changes he’s specified here? Permission granted to skip the page/strophe/line directions he makes, but bonus points if you can make a poem that follows these changes exactly.

Click here to see Merwin’s writing prompt.

From the KR Archive


Mary Szybist is the author of Granted (Alice James Books), which was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. “Yet Not Consumed” first appeared in KR’s Fall 2008 issue.

Fall 2008, Vol. 30, No. 4.

Yet Not Consumed

But give me the frost of your name
in my mouth, give me
spiny fruits and scaly husks—
give me breath

to say aloud to the breathless clouds
your name, to say
I am, let me need
to say it and still need you
to give me need, to make me
into what is needed, what you need,

no more than that I am, no more
than the stray winds on my neck, the salt
of your palm on my tongue, no more

than need, a neck that will bend
lower to what I am so
give me creeping, give me clouds that hang
low and sweep the blue of the sky
to its edges, let me taste the edges, the bread-colored clouds,
here I am, give me

thumb and fingers, give me only
what I need, a turn here
to turn what I am
into I am, what your name writ in clouds
writ on me

If you liked this poem, try these!

Contents Oct. 2010
Why We Chose It
Amazon.com Grant
KR on Kindle
KR Apple App
Are You Following?
KR Literary Festival
Grodd Poetry Contest
Donate to KR Today!
From KROnline
From the KR Blog
From the Archives





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FALL 2010
W.S. Merwin,
Joyce Carol Oates, David Avidan,
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