Editor’s Notes & Cover Art

About the Cover

Our cover design features a photograph by Mariana Cook titled “Limestone Field, Inis Meáin, Ireland.” The spaces in this lace wall allow strong sea winds to pass through without knocking the wall down.

Mariana Cook’s photographic study of stone walls inspired her to travel the world in search of ancient stone structures in Britain, Ireland, the Mediterranean, Peru, New England, and Kentucky.

Cook’s exquisite photographs are reproduced in her book Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries (Damiani Editore) with a letter from Wendell Berry. Her newest book of photographs is Justice: Faces of the Human Rights Revolution (Damiani Editore), which will soon be available as an e-book.

Mariana Cook is the last protégée of Ansel Adams. Her masterful photographs of people both in and out of the public eye have been widely published and exhibited.

Her works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Getty Museum, the Bibliotheque National, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and more. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

© 2011 Mariana Cook

Editor’s Notes

Five Years on . . .

In 2008, after fifteen years of editing these pages, I felt for the first time that we didn’t have enough of them—that we were turning away stories, poems, and essays I yearned to publish in The Kenyon Review. And the backlog was stretching toward a too-distant horizon as well, bulging with literature already accepted. It was time, our team of editors realized, to embrace an innovation we’d anticipated from the early days of the KR Web site: the creation of an electronic literary journal that we came to call KROnline.

It became immediately clear, of course, that if launching a new publication was intended, at least in part, to address the challenge of receiving so many great submissions, then unlike other journals and magazines, KROnline would have to offer prose and poetry distinct from what we printed in The Kenyon Review. Ah, but didn’t we risk slighting those authors whose work we steered into this new medium, as if they were somehow second-class citizens? How might we stake out a separate territory, yet one of equal stature?

I’m glad to report that we seem to be on the right track. While the print and Kindle editions of The Kenyon Review remain vibrant, in the last year KROnline has welcomed 187,000 “unique visitors.” From my point of view they are 187,000 readers, individuals around the world who are sampling our literature, whether briefly or at length. And that, after all, is our mission as I understand it.

One grateful response zinged in from Greenland—the wait there for a new issue to arrive by post no longer lasts eight months.

And here’s an interesting, even more recent trend: last year some 16 percent of our KROnline visitors were arriving via mobile devices such as phones or tablets. That’s a route that didn’t exist when we launched the journal, and the number of such travelers continues to grow rapidly.

As for authors resisting an online appearance: I’ve been truly astonished—and relieved—that over these five years fewer than a dozen have demurred. It seems that for many people these days the Internet no longer tarnishes this considerable achievement. Publication in KROnline has come to carry the same prestige as The Kenyon Review—as we hoped it would. And having one’s work appear more swiftly than in print and then appreciated by an international audience is surely gratifying as well.

Five years on and KRO is well established and widely read, a vital complement to The Kenyon Review. Yes, we’ve been making it up as we go along. That’s still true and still exciting. Our electronic capacities continue to mature, to grow more sophisticated. Recently, for example, we introduced new audio options, allowing visitors to kenyonreview.org to listen to many of our authors performing their own work aloud. And Weekend Reads, a regular Friday e-mail that travels far and wide, contains selections from KR’s rich archives for quiet delectation. It has been astonishingly successful, with thousands of viewers “clicking through” to read the offerings of superb literature, and others signing up every day. I’m excited about what may come next.

—D. H. L.

Back to top ↑

Sign up for Our Email Newsletter