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The Kenyon Review Newsletter September 2010

KR Reading Period Begins September 15

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The Kenyon Review will begin accepting submissions through its online submissions site on September 15, 2010 and the submissions period will continue through January 15, 2011. Short fiction, poetry, drama, essays, and translations will be accepted for both the magazine and KROnline from a single pool of submissions.

KR Editor David Lynn writes:

Reading submissions is the most important work that we do. We receive thousands of submissions over the course of our reading period, and we give each of them careful consideration. Our standards are high. We ask, “Does this poem or story or essay offer surprise and delight? Does it seem fresh, necessary, startling? Does the author—young or not so young, someone of established distinction or a talent as yet undiscovered—display a mastery of language, especially as necessary to this particular piece?”

What we publish in print in The Kenyon Review, on the one hand, and electronically in KROnline, on the other, will be different in tone and timeliness, and will probably speak to different audiences as well. Nevertheless, it’s our mission to offer a great variety of literature all held to the highest of standards.

How does this process of evaluation work? KR’s offices are in Gambier, Ohio, a lovely wooded village, but very far from any graduate program in creative writing which would allow us to draw readers from among the advanced students and faculty. Instead, we have a tree of readers, beginning with our Kenyon Review Associates, who are themselves carefully selected from a highly competitive pool of student applicants. Before the Associates even begin to read new work, they spend time with our editors, discussing the skill and the art of evaluating stories and poems and essays that are fresh, sometimes rough, but very different from what they usually find in their textbooks for classes.

As part of this training process, we work together through a number of samples. Once they are assigned a set of manuscripts, Associates work in teams of two, and if one reader feels a manuscript warrants further consideration, it will be passed up to a higher branch of the tree, where one of our consulting editors will evaluate it in turn. All of this sharing, collaboration, and discussion is aided by our online submission process—it would be almost impossible were we still slinging about shipping boxes full of paper manuscripts.

The point here is not merely that we pay individual attention to the precious creations of writers from around the world. We do so because we know that amidst these thousands of unsolicited submissions lie the gems that will make up the bulk of The Kenyon Review and KROnline. It’s the labor necessary to fulfill our mission. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

Click here to enter the submissions site

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize

The seventh 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.

Close to 600 entries were received last year, with the winner, Anna Faison of Aiken, South Carolina, receiving a full scholarship to KR’s popular Young Writers summer workshop. The top two runners-up received partial scholarships to attend the summer workshop, and all three poets will be published in the Fall issue of The Kenyon Review.

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 at that time. The contest will close on November 30.

High school teachers are encouraged to pass along this information to sophomores and juniors.

2010 Fall KR Reading Series

KR Readings Series

KR is pleased to announce the Fall 2010 Reading Series. All readings are free and open to the public.

  1. Oct. 5th, 4:10pm Lewis Hyde (Cheever Room, Finn House). Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. In 2010, he published Common As Air, a study in art, ownership, and the cultural commons.
  2. Oct. 21st, 4:10pm Matt Hart and Nate Pritts (Cheever Room, Finn House) Hart is the author of Who’s Who Vivid, from Slope editions, You Are Mist forthcoming from Moor Books, as well as multiple chapbooks. He is editor of Forklift, Ohio. Pritts is the author of The Wonderfull Yeare, (Cooper Dillon), Honorary Astronaut (Ghost Road Press) and Sensational Spectacular (BlazeVOX), as well as multiple chapbooks. He is the editor of H_NGM_N.
  3. Nov. 5th, 7pm Forrest Gander (Peirce Lounge, Peirce Hall) The author of numerous books and translations, Gander’s most recent publications include As a Friend (fiction) and Eye Against Eye (poems) from New Directions, and A Faithful Existence (essays) from Counterpoint Press. In 2011 New Directions will publish Core Samples From The World, a new collection of poetry.
  4. Nov. 6th, 3:10pm Jean Portante (Bemis Music Room, Peirce Hall) Portante is a poet, novelist, translator and essayist. He has authored over 20 books. In 2006, he was elected a member of the French Académie Mallarmé.
  5. Nov. 6th, 8pm W.S. Merwin (Rosse Hall) Merwin was named Poet Laureate of the United States in 2010. His latest collection of poetry, The Shadow of Sirius, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. He will be honored in 2010 with the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. In 1954, he was awarded a Kenyon Review Fellowship from John Crowe Ransom, receiving one year of financial support early in what would become an extraordinary literary career.

From KRO Annah Browning


And what about the empire of sadness?

As if my tongue had not been swallowed.
You see, there were these men. There were
things, bird things, sitting on delicate wires.

I believed they were holding back the sky
which looked heavier every month

the circle of green grass smaller
every time I glanced back, every time
I thought to reckon on the hour—

what time was it, when I picked up
my belly and walked? Into that space

between our voices. You and I.
These men multiple, standing in their coats
and hats. Around that ring of grass
as if it were the grave of something.

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 Archives

James Wright’s “All the Beautiful Are Blameless” first appeared in the Autumn issue of KR in 1958. In his commentary on the poem that appeared in our Spring, 1996 issue, KR Poetry Editor David Baker writes “with its more ragged ‘natural’ structure, its self-deprecating humor (“I, being lightly sane”) and its population of local roughnecks (“Two stupid harly-charlies got her drunk / And took her swimming naked on the lake”), [“All the Beautiful Are Blameless”] anticipates the direction of Wright’s stunningly original 1963 volume The Branch Will Not Break. Here the dead woman is not simply an ingredient in a young Romantic poet’s still-life study but rather a victim of male instigated peril. Wright’s rage for justice, his connection—moral, but also erotic—with the dead woman . . . anticipates one of his powerful, mature Romantic themes: intimate sympathy with the doomed, the voiceless, the misunderstood, those outside the usual social structures, those traditionally outside the poetic attention.”

Autumn 1958, Vol. XX, No. 4.

All The Beautiful Are Blameless

Out of a dark into the dark she leaped
Lightly this day.
Heavy with prey, the evening skiffs are gone,
And drowsy divers lift their helmets off,
Dry on the shore.

Two stupid harly-charlies got her drunk
And took her swimming naked on the lake.
The waters rippled lute-like round the boat,
And far beyond them dipping up and down,
Unmythological sylphs, their names unknown,
Beckoned to sandbars where the evenings fall.

Only another drunk would say she heard
A natural voice
Luring the flesh across the water.
I think of those unmythological
Sylphs of the trees.

Slight but orplidean shoulders weave in dusk
Before my eyes when I walk lonely forward
To kick beer-cans from tracked declivities.
If I, being lightly sane, may carve a mouth
Out of the air to kiss, the drowned girl surely
Listened to lute-song where the sylphs are gone.
The living and the dead glide hand in hand
Under cool waters where the days are gone.
Out of the dark into a dark I stand.
The ugly curse the world and pin my arms
Down by their grinning teeth, sneering a blame.

Closing my eyes, I look for hungry swans
To plunder the lake and bear the girl away,
Back to the larger waters where the sea
Sifts, judges, gathers the body, and subsides.

But here the starved, touristic crowd divides
And offers the dead
Hell for the living body’s evil:
The girl flopped in the water like a pig
And drowned dead drunk.

So do the pure defend themselves. But she,
Risen to kiss the sky, her limbs still whole,
Rides on the dark tarpaulin toward the shore;
And the hired saviours turn their painted shell
Along the wharf, to list her human name.
But the dead have no names, they lie so still,
And all the beautiful are blameless now.

KR authors win 2010 Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award

Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award

KR offers its heartfelt congratulations to Amina Gautier and Melinda Moustakis on winning the 2010 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction from the University of Georgia Press, as well as to E.J. Levy, who was named by the judges as runner up in the 2010 contest! Gautier’s collection At Risk and Moustakis’ collection Bear Down, Bear North will be published in 2011 by UGA Press.

Gautier’s story “Girl of Wisdom” appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of KR. Moustakis’ story “Mooseblind,” recently appeared on KROnline; Read it now! Levy’s story “Artichoke Hearts” appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of KR.

Another Life On Stage

KR is proud to announce a staged reading of Karen Malpede’s powerful new play-in-progress, Another Life, Sept. 21 at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, New York City, at 7:30pm. Malpede’s play traces the American psyche since September 11, 2001, and will appear in the Fall 2010 issue of KR. KR Editor David Lynn calls the play “powerful, disturbing, wonderful.” The staged reading, produced by Theater Three, will star George Bartenieff, Judith Malina, and Eunice Wong. It will be followed by audience discussion and a presentation by lawyer Susan Burke, who represents Guantanmo detainees. For tickets and more information, see dixonplace.org or Theater Three Collaborative

Knox Reads!

Knox Reads Merwin

KR will launch this year’s Knox Reads! initiative by giving away free copies of The Shadow of Sirius, the Pulitzer Prize winning poetry collection of current U.S. Poet Laureate, W.S. Merwin. Copies will be distributed at the Oct. 2nd Mt. Vernon Farmers’ Market, as well as through Paragraphs bookstore and the Kenyon College Bookstore. Supplies are limited, so be sure to arrive early! Limit one copy per family. Want to buy your own copy now? The Shadow of Sirius is available from the publisher here.

The book giveaway kicks off a month of supporting programs, leading up to W.S. Merwin’s Nov. 6th reading on the Kenyon campus. Events in October and early November include multiple book discussions and lectures at the Public Library of Mt. Vernon and Knox County and on the Kenyon campus; a bilingual poetry reading by translators reading Merwin’s work; a video installation of responses to Merwin’s poems; and a blog conversation on Merwin on the KR website to support the community reading experience (more info below).

Friday, Nov. 5th kicks off the 2010 KR Literary Festival. It will feature the annual Empty Bowls fundraising dinner, raising awareness and funds for the hungry in Knox County, followed by a poetry reading by Forrest Gander.

Saturday, Nov. 6th will feature a poetry workshop with G.C. Waldrep (space is limited), a CLMP Lit Mag and Book fair, featuring over 100 peer literary journals selling for $2 each, a panel on the art of translation, a poetry reading by Jean Portante, an exhibit from the Kenyon archives of KR ephemera and archival material, poetry hikes featuring Merwin’s work, as well as additional discussions and lectures on The Shadow of Sirius. The day will culminate in Merwin’s evening reading.

For more information on dates, times, and specific locations for events throughout October and November please visit the Knox Reads! page of the KR website. Whether near or far, join us this October in reading and celebrating Merwin’s recent work and enduring legacy. Participation is as easy as visiting the KR website! All events are free and open to the public.

Join Us in The Shadow of Sirius

Book Discussion

Join us at the Kenyon Review Blog in October for an online book discussion of W.S. Merwin’s The Shadow of Sirius, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Four emerging poets will lead a discussion on the book, as well as on Merwin’s place in 20th century and contemporary poetics. Pick up your copy of The Shadow of Sirius and plan to join us!

Darcie DenniganDarcie Dennigan is the author of Corinna, A-Maying the Apocalypse, from Fordham University Press. She is a past recipient of the Discovery/The Nation prize and writes occasionally for TheRumpus.net. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Andrew GraceAndrew Grace is the author of A Belonging Field, from Salt Publishing, and Shadeland, winner of the 2008 OSU Press/The Journal prize. He is also the author of Sancta, forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in 2012. He was recently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Caryl PagelCaryl Pagel is the author of the chapbook Visions, Crisis Apparitions, & Other Exceptional Experiences, from Factory Hollow Press. She works for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she edits Rescue Press.

Zach SavichZach Savich is the author of Full Catastrophe Living, winner of the 2008 Iowa Poetry Prize and Annulments, from the University of Colorado Press. He is also the author of The Firestorm, forthcoming from Cleveland State University Press, and The Man Who Lost His Head, a chapbook forthcoming from Omnidawn. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Kenyon Review Participates in the 2010 Lit Mag Adoption Program for Creative Writing Students

Fall 2009Following the success of the 2009 program, The Kenyon Review is again participating in the CLMP Lit Mag Adoption Program in the Fall of 2010. Information on how classes can order discounted copies is included in the language below from CLMP, the organizing institution for the initiative. Last year, KR was adopted by classes from five schools: the College of Santa Fe, Denison University, Rutgers-Newark, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and William Patterson University. From the CLMP site:

Winter 2010Most poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction by emerging writers first finds its way into print through literary magazines, yet few student writers actively engage with the spectrum of magazines published today. By integrating literary magazines into course curricula and providing opportunities for one-on-one interaction between literary magazine publishers and creative writing students (a key component of the program), the Lit Mag Adoption Program promotes a generation of new writers that are also active readers and productive members of the larger literary community.

Spring 2010The Lit Mag Adoption Program for Creative Writing Students allows undergraduate and graduate creative writing professors to include literary magazines in their Fall 2010 courses. Students receive half-price, 1-year subscriptions for selected literary magazines (professors receive a free “desk-copy” subscription). Each participating class will receive at least two issues of the magazine during the semester. In addition, classes will have direct interaction with the magazine publisher/editor through a virtual (or in-person where local) “One-on-One” chat session.


From the KR BlogTamiko Beyer




Step-Step-Leap Into Fearlessness

August 6th, 2010 —
Tamiko Beyer

Hello readers! I’m back from my month-long hiatus.

While not blogging in July, I began my stint as a workshop leader for a couple of summer writing workshops for young people, including this one in my neighborhood park.

(Photo credit: Tamara Best)

Writing with seven- to nine-year-olds has been so much fun because most of them have not yet developed the censor, the editor who shuts us down when we got too weird or illogical or goofy. They are fearless.

(For example: Last Saturday, as we were writing a group poem about food, a kid who had been pretty quiet the rest of the session got so excited he stood up and sang Weird Al’s “Eat It,” complete with his own dance moves.)

So they leap, create fantastic worlds, images, lines. Like this: “Blue sounds like a drum.” “When I was asleep the wind moved my hair at night.” “If I was able to eat lightning / It would probably taste like me.”

Bill T. Jones, during a recent Merce Cunningham tribute performance, leapt too. As his dancers ended their trio-tribute, he shed his shirt and hat, and, for a few minutes, danced. Simply danced in his own body, that muscular vehicle, honed with over thirty years of dance-muscle-memory.

(Photo credit: Kian Goh)

I watched in awe as he carried/performed the history of his work and Cunningham’s work in his limbs and torso. Then he crossed the stage and leapt like a bodysurfing rock star into the arms of his dancers.

This leap was different from the leap of the children’s writing. It is a leap made knowing full well the foolishness and danger, but done because that is what the performance required. A leap in tribute to the revolutionary work of Cunningham. A leap into the next generation of dancers. A leap that requires both trust and fearlessness. . . .

Click here to finish this blog post.



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