The Exciting Program of KR’s Summer Programs
As I write these notes, winter has just barreled into Gambier. The trees are stark and bare, the sky a pale, sere blue. Our students (and, yes, we instructors as well) are yearning for the holiday break. Yet at the Kenyon Review our team is already well advanced in planning the busy schedule of writing and reading programs for the summer ahead.
I think these programs bear mentioning here because they are no longer simply a small, summer side-affair. Instead, our trustees have embraced them as central to the mission of what the Kenyon Review has become: a premier literary arts organization. From simply (simply!) producing a well-regarded print literary journal in decades past, we have expanded dramatically to offer electronic publishing, such as KROnline, a monthly newsletter, podcasts, blogs, and other social media as well. Even more unusual, perhaps, KR has evolved to offer a wide array of innovative writing programs to high school students and adults.
Just as we have increasingly challenged and expanded the boundaries of traditional genres in what we publish, so our summer programs for adults have expanded from the model of conventional—though stunningly successful—workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In Summer 2018, for example, we will be offering new programs in playwriting, spiritual writing, nature writing, hybrid writing, and translation. All will be fashioned on our uniquely successful Kenyon Review Workshop pedagogy: intensive small group sessions every day, led by distinguished writers who are also dedicated teachers. Each workshop employs texts, models, conversation, and other prompts to generate new writing. It’s never been about simply bringing drafts along from home and sharing them with a group. Rather, our summer participants work hard here, gaining momentum and inspiration to carry them through the year ahead.
Not everyone aspires to be a writer, of course. Many, many of our readers and friends yearn for a chance to step outside the demands of their quotidian routine and be challenged to read and think in new and intensive ways. We have long wanted to expand our programs beyond writing workshops. And this year for the first time the Kenyon Review Summer Programs will also be offering seminars that embrace a wide range of intellectual interests.
For example, Stephen Knott, a professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College will offer a course called “Presidential Greatness: Myth vs. Reality.” The distinguished artist and professor Martin Garhart will use texts and daily drawing exercises to explore “The Still Life as Personal Metaphor.” Ted Walch, a noted teacher of film, has created “Space. Time. Light. Five Films,” with screenings of Citizen Kane, Vertigo, The 400 Blows, Chinatown, and There Will Be Blood. (I want to sign up for that.) And for those interested in the history of early rock music, Ellen Leerburger and David Smay will be offering “A Multidisciplinary Look at the Velvet Underground.”
It may be winter in Gambier as I write, but the summer ahead is shaping up to be one of intellectual stimulation. Our little village will hum with life and excitement, and I will look forward to welcoming writers, readers, and artists from around the country and the world. I hope you’ll be among them.
On the Cover
Denise McMorrow is a practicing psychologist and artist residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her interdisciplinary work explores the edges between what is conscious / unconscious and visible / invisible, toward a deepened, heart-centered honoring of relationships with oneself, others, and the more-than-human world. The Waking Year (2008) is one of a series of mixed media works on paper, inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson. McMorrow’s most recent public art projects explore the intersections between the poetics of place, healing, and the psychic life of communities. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on existential phenomenology from Duquesne University and an MFA in painting from the Pratt Institute. Her work can be viewed at www.denisemcmorrow.com and www.thedreamplaceproject.com.