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Kenyon Review

Why We Chose It
Auctioneering Selfhood,” Simon Chandler’s review of The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, appears in the Summer 2016 edition of KROnline.

In my first year as a Book Review Editor at the Kenyon Review, I’ve had the chance to interact not only with a wide range of books but also with a diverse group of reviewers, each one of whom consistently provides unique and compelling insights into today’s literary landscape. Many times the connection between the reviewer and the text happens because the reviewer reads a book and wants to say something about it. In other instances, a book strikes me as interesting or innovative, and I seek to make a connection between the book and a reviewer. Continue reading “Why We Chose It.”

Pictures in the Sky: Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop 2016
Young WritersIt’s Sunday morning in Gambier and the Resident Advisors are sipping coffee, standing in front of a blank, concrete wall, a bucket of sidewalk chalk at our feet. Brady writes WELCOME! in blue, block letters the size of hubcaps. Further down, Meera draws a map on which arriving students can mark their hometowns. Soon shuttles will arrive from the airport carrying teenagers from as far as Suzhou, China. Others will emerge from the rear seats of station wagons with plates from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania. And they do. By five p.m. McBride hall is home to 110 new residents.

On the way to breakfast the next morning, I notice most of the chalk wall has been washed away by rain, including the pale yellow outlines of the map. All that remains is what was written in orange: YOU ARE HERE and below it a scattering of x’s which, now mapless, look like a constellation.
Continue reading this report from Young Writers 2016.

New in KR Podcasts
KR PodcastIn this month’s podcast, poet Stanley Plumly talks with contributing editor Maggie Smith about differences in writing poetry or prose, process and the importance of revision, and writing about Keats. Hear Plumly read the poem “Dutch Elm” from his new book. Listen to it!

From KROnline: A Trans Body’s Path in Eight Folds
Cooper Lee BombardierA trans body sightsees at Carlsbad Caverns. It pays admission and enters the gap-toothed maw. Eyes are open but not working at first, seeing only the green opposite of the hot white outside. Soon, the trans eyes forget the world’s way of seeing in favor of its own vision in the cool balm of dark. It feels a kinship with the stalactites fanging down from the dark ribbed roof, growing and changing ever so slowly, drip by drip. An inch a century if that.
Continue reading this piece on KROnline.

Letters to the Dead

Kenyon Review Cover Spring 2007From Kenyon Review, New Series, Spring 2007, Vol. XXIX, No. 2

First published in KR in 2007, “Letters to the Dead” appeared the same year in Eavan Boland’s fifth volume of poems, Domestic Violence. Commenting on the poem which revisits the death of her mother, Boland has said, “It’s the traffic between that first private feeling and the wider view which points towards elegy, certainly for me. ‘Letters to the Dead’ tries to take a broader look at mothers and daughters in Ireland, at landscape, at something wider than a single loss.”

In the Old Kingdom scholars found pottery
written round and around with signs and marks.

Written in silt ware. On the rims of bowls.
Laid at the entrance of tombs.
Red with the iron of one world.
Set at the threshold of another.
They called them letters to the dead.

They did not mourn or grieve these signs or marks.
They were intimate, imploring, local, desperate.

Continue reading this poem.

From the KR Blog: Temporary Talismans
July 12, 2016

Sejal ShahThere’s a postcard I’ve kept propped on my desk, on a bookshelf, or protected in a drawer—since middle school. I don’t know what attracted me to that particular postcard from Germany. Perhaps it was that I had not yet traveled out of the country (other than Canada). But it always felt more mysterious to me than that. The image even surfaced in a story I wrote several years ago called “The Girl with Two Brothers” . . . Read the blog post.

A Micro-Conversation with Javier Zamora
Javier Zamora’s poem “Let Me Try Again” appears in the July/Aug 2016 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Javier ZamoraWhat was your original impetus for writing “Let Me Try Again”?

Teaching Raul Zurita’s INRI. I’d read it years before when I’d just started writing poems; it struck me then, but teaching it, and spending so much time with it the second time, gave me nightmares. One of those nightmares made me remember my second attempt trying to cross the Sonoran Desert. The first drafts didn’t start the way the poem does now; there was more repetition of the landscape, of what “water tasted” like, etc. . . . If I remember correctly, or maybe it’s how the book made me feel, there’s a point when the speaker in INRI is tired of description. I got tired of description, of trying to make the landscape beautiful. The landscape just was. And the poem got closer to the current form. Read the interview.

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The Kenyon Review is supported in part by generous grants from the Ohio Arts Council,
the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Smart Family Foundation.
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