Simon Schama to Receive 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement
GAMBIER, Ohio — The Kenyon Review has selected historian, essayist, and critic Simon Schama as the winner of the 2011 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. With incomparable wit and verve, Schama’s penetrating essays explore how art, nature, and history illuminate contemporary culture.
Schama will accept the Kenyon Review award at a gala benefit dinner in New York City on Nov. 3 and will visit Kenyon College on Nov. 5 to deliver the keynote address at the fourth annual Kenyon Review Literary Festival.
Why We Chose It
By David Lynn, Editor
So I’m reading unsolicited submissions. Some fail to grab me at all. Others get off to a good start, only to flag, to wither. Ah well. Open another.
“It’s seven in the morning on a Thursday, and I’m already late for school when I walk into the dining room for breakfast and find Debi, my newborn sister, floating in the aquarium. My dead newborn sister. She must be dead—after all, humans can’t survive underwater—but the magnitude of this doesn’t register.”
That opening, to “A Family Matter” by Keya Mitra, surely stops me in my tracks.
Continue reading to learn why KR selected Keya Mitra’s piece for the Fall 2011 issue of The Kenyon Review.
Applications open for the KR Fellowships
The Kenyon Review has begun accepting applications for the KR Fellowships. These two-year post-graduate positions are intended for creative writers who have already completed the MFA or PhD degree and are seeking time to develop as writers, teachers, and editors. Applications may be submitted until December 1. Two fellows, a poet and a prose writer, will arrive in Gambier, Ohio in August 2012.
The eighth annual Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers will begin accepting entries in November. The prize, which is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world, is juried by David Baker, KR’s poetry editor.
Knox Reads Scribble, Scribble, Scribble
KR launched this year’s Knox Reads! initiative by giving away free copies of Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother, a selection of essays by Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement winner Simon Schama. Copies were distributed at the Sept. 24th Mt. Vernon Farmers’ Market, as well as through Paragraphs Bookstore and the Kenyon College Bookstore.
Roger Rosenblatt Returns to Kenyon
Roger Rosenblatt will return to Kenyon on October 12-13 to read from his latest book, the family memoir Making Toast, now out in paperback. Making Toast grew out of a December 2008 New Yorker article in which Rosenblatt, with poignancy and humor, recounted life with his three grandchildren and son-in-law after the death of his thirty-eight-year-old daughter.
A Sestina for a Cannibal
How do you teach a cannibal
to speak when he has no tongue?
Draw a picture first—a house or a ship—
and then guide his fingers
to form the letters
and slowly pronounce the word.
Then erase the picture, then the word
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This month, Philip Levine becomes Poet Laureate of the United States, a long overdue honor for this “ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland,” as Edward Hirsch described him in the New York Times Book Review. Author of 20 collections of poems, Levine has won the Pulitzer Prize (The Simple Truth, 1995) two National Book Awards (Ashes: Poems New and Old, 1980 and What Work Is, 1991), the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (The Names of the Lost, 1977), as well as the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize for Poetry, the Frank O’Hara Prize, and two Guggenheim Fellowships. His poem “Agnus Dei” appeared in KR’s Autumn, 1989 issue, along with an essay on “the problem of American poetry” and the question of whether poetry should “socialize the private vision.” That issue also includes Richard Jackson’s study of Levine’s longer poems, entitled “The Long Embrace.” Looking back, we can savor Levine’s vision of an unexpected sacrament bursting upon the unseeing world like a poem.
The Kenyon Review, Autumn 1989, Vol. XI, No. 4.
My little sister created the Lamb of God.
She made him out of used-up dust mops
and coat hangers. She left him whitewashed
at the entrance to the Calvin Coolidge branch
of the public library, so as to scare
the lady librarian who’d clucked at each of us,
“Why do you want to read a grown-up book?”
The lamb sagged against the oaken doors,
high and dark in the deep vault of morning,
and said nothing as we scampered off
across the dew-wet lawns, our shoes darkening.
August 18, 2011 —
Jake Adam York
I was happy to open Facebook yesterday and find that several friends had linked to Samuel Amadon’s “Letter to an MFA Applicant,” published over the weekend on Coldfront. It seemed to me a reasonable and personal response (perhaps reasonable because personal response) to Poets & Writers’ recent release of its annual ranking of MFA programs and the growing tide of response to the annual rankings, most recently in the form of an open letter to Poets & Writers arguing with the methodology.
Contents Oct. 2011
KR Award to Schama
Why We Chose It
From the Archives
From the Blog
The Fall Issue,
On Newsstands Now!
by Lionel Trilling,
on John Keats,