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Kenyon Review Newsletter - February 2012

Victoria White and Truman Zhang Win Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
Grodd Contest Victoria White and Truman Zhang, both sophomores at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, took first place in this year’s Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers presented by The Kenyon Review. White’s poem “Elephant Grave” and Zhang’s poem “Dear Poet” were selected by KR Poetry Editor David Baker from nearly 650 submissions.

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose It
By David Lynn, Editor

Ron CarlsonWe thought we’d add Ron Carlson’s distinguished voice to the ongoing conversation of “Why We Chose It.” Ron was the final judge of the 2011 KR Short Fiction Contest, and the winner and runners-up appear in the current, Winter 2012 issue of The Kenyon Review as well as on KROnline.

Join KR at AWP!
Visit us February 29-March 3, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference at the Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. On Saturday, March 3rd, the bookfair, with over 500 tables, will be open to the public. KR will be in the Southeast Hall of the Hilton Chicago, at Table Q20. Please stop by to say hello and pick up one of our lovely letterpressed postcards, gratis!

Short Fiction ContestThe Kenyon Review is now accepting submissions for the fifth annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest through February 29, 2012. The contest is open to all writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Submissions must be 1,200 words or less to qualify for the contest. Nancy Zafris, former KR Fiction Editor and currently editor of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction book series, will be the final judge.

Kenyon College / KR Spring Reading Series

Reading Series

Join us for a stellar line-up of readings this February at Kenyon College:

  • Thursday, February 9th:
    Andrew Hudgins and Amit Majmudar
  • Thursday, February 23rd:
    Michael Dumanis and Andrew Grace

All readings begin at 4:10 pm in the Cheever Room of Finn House, 102 W. Wiggin St., Gambier, Ohio.

From the KR Archives
Vladimir Nabokov
With its Winter 1979 issue, KR began publishing again after a nine year hiatus. That issue included, among other treasures, Vladimir Nabokov’s letter to Edmund Wilson of April 7, 1947, in which he mentions that he’s writing “a short novel about a man who liked little girls—and it’s going to be called The Kingdom by the Sea.” Accompanying that letter was this poem, translated from the Russian by Joseph Brodsky. Brodsky would later say, in an interview with Solomon Volkov, “I had very mixed feelings about it. First of all, complete disgust for what I was doing because Nabokov’s poem is of very low quality. He, in general, in my opinion, never materialized as a poet . . . I was against that idea but they kept insisting . . . ” Was Brodsky right? You can judge for yourself. For us, it’s enough to know that with one issue, KR helped to unleash two of Nabokov’s demons upon the world.
The Kenyon Review, New Series, Winter 1979, Vol. I, No. 1.
Where have you flown here from? What kind of grief d’you carry?
Tell, flier, why your lips do lack
a tint of life, and why the sea smells in your wings?

And Demon answers me: “You’re young and hungry,
but sounds won’t satiate you. So don’t pluck
your tightly drawn discordant strings.

No music’s higher than the silence. You were born
for strict, austere silence. Learn
its stamp on stones, on love, on stars above your ground.”

He vanished. Darkness fades. God ordered me to sound.

From KRO
2011 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner
by Fan Li
I call my son in Baltimore and a bird picks up. It turns out the bird is a girl.

“I’m Trevor’s mother,” I announce myself, pretending I’m still proud of that.

“I’m Trevor’s girlfriend,” she chirps back. Her friends titter in the background like they are all perched atop the telephone wire.

I press the receiver closer to my nostrils and imagine a bull right before it charges.

“Trevor is in Vancouver,” she tells me.

So I scratch out the ten-digit number in my address book and replace it with one that has a “1” in front of it.

“Yes?” an Eastern European man answers.

“I’m Trevor’s mother.”

“Trr-evor is in China.”

So I scratch out the eleven-digit number and replace it with an eighteen-digit number.

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 BlogAmit Majmudar
January 10, 2012 —
Amit Majmudar
The past hundred years have witnessed, in the English-speaking world, the emergence of two major philosophical poets: T. S. Eliot and Kay Ryan. While they certainly aren’t the only ones, these two strike me as particularly philosophical (and particularly great), . . .
Writers Workshop

The Winter Issue,
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Winter 2012
The 2011 Short
Fiction Contest
Roger Rosenblatt
& more
Young Writers Workshop

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