Why We Chose It
By Geeta Kothari, Nonfiction Editor
“On Being a Mother” by Mara Naselli
Essays that reveal their true nature as they progress have to strike a balance between misdirection and staying the course. The art lies in the writer’s ability to establish the reader’s trust as she feels her way towards the heart of her story. She must find a balance between anticipation and suspense, between questions and answers. Re-reading “On Being a Mother,” I’m struck again by Mara Naselli’s ability to create this balance and more.
The Aural Tradition
Is there a road trip, workout, commute, or marathon cooking session in your future? Download KR’s latest podcasts
and transform those minutes to literary joy. You’ll revel in the talents of A. Molotkov, Martha Collins, Aysa Bucak, and winners of the KR Short Fiction Contest. Go ahead. Let us whisper rich somethings in your ear.
Note: To celebrate the 75th anniversary of KR, we asked a group of established and emergent authors to write a short essay, a credo, stating their core beliefs about writing and literature. In doing so, we pay tribute to John Crowe Ransom, who in the late 1940s commissioned a set of credos about critical practice from public intellectuals of the day. Throughout the 2014 year, this newsletter brings you a contemporary credo published in KRO as well as a classic credo from the archives. Enjoy!
The Kenyon Review Credos: On Suffering
by Alan Heathcock
I never spoke to anyone about my love of stories. Years later, my parents would be surprised when I told them I wanted to be a writer. Why did I keep this to myself? I kept it to myself because books didn’t live quietly or peacefully inside of me, but instead filled me with a kind of shrieking truth. Books felt unsettling and dangerous, and affected me more deeply than just about any other experiences I’d had.
An original Kenyon Review Credo
The Kenyon Review, Winter 1951, Vol. XIII, No. 1
The Archetypes of Literature
by Northrop Frye
The fact that revision is possible, that the poet makes changes not because he likes them better but because they are better, means that poems, like poets, are born and not made. The poet’s task is to deliver the poem in as uninjured a state as possible, and if the poem is alive, it is equally anxious to be rid of him, and screams to be cut loose from his private memories and associations, his desire for self-expression, and all the other navel-strings and feeding tubes of his ego.
Matthew Zapruder’s Sun Bear
For a few weeks, I avoided Sun Bear, Matthew Zapruder’s newest collection of poetry, a book I was happy to see in the store . . . because I was nervous he’d get in my head like last time and I’d go through an ungainly stage of attempted breezy and expansive verse, only to find imitation can also be the saddest form of flattery. It’s called sladattery, and like puberty it’s normal, embarrassing, and full of periods. Or, as in the case of Zapruder, very little punctuation at all.
A Micro-Interview with Kellie Wells
Wells’s story “Moon, Moon, My Honey” appears in the Summer 2014 issue of The Kenyon Review
Can you identify the seed of inspiration of your story “Moon, Moon, My Honey”? What was the hardest part about writing it?
I wanted to try to write a straight-up love story. I wanted to look romantic love deep in its moony eye and see what I found reflected there. Death, as it turns out! Although I don’t think the story is without a certain . . . cosmic optimism. I suppose the most challenging aspect of writing the story was making sure that, inside the story’s fabulist body, its heart was beating authentically enough that another person could recognize the emotion of it and be moved by it.
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