Why We Chose It: “Walt Whitman and the Bohemians” by David Reynolds
BY DAVID LYNN, EDITOR
Let me begin simply by saying that David Reynolds
is a marvelous writer. His review-essay in the July/August 2016 issue of the Kenyon Review
on two new books about Whitman is elegant, vivid, and very smart—it’s a pleasure to read him engage these works, revealing not only their strengths and a few weaknesses, but also much that I didn’t know about Whitman’s life in New York. Continue reading “Why We Chose It.”
Enjoy our July/Aug issue now!
In the July/Aug 2016
issue you’ll discover exciting new poems by Marilyn Hacker
, Vénus Khoury-Ghata
, Fady Joudah
, Laura Kasischke
, Safiya Sinclair
, Javier Zamora
, and more; dazzling fiction from Neil Mathison
; a new play by Todd Hearon
, and provocative nonfiction by Nick Neely
and David Bergman
. Grab a print copy today or read it on our new app! Don’t have our free app? Download it today!
KR Writers Workshop: Eight Reasons I Keep Coming Back to Kenyon
BY MOLIA DUMBLETON, WW PARTICIPANT
Why does one writer keep coming back to the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop? Molia Dumbleton gives eight reasons not to miss a summer in Gambier!
“…the truth is that although I’ve left Kenyon each summer ready to take on the world, by late spring of the next year, my creative jalopy is sputtering again. That could be a sad thing if you wanted it to be, but I think reaping a year of work from one week of stimulus is a pretty good yield.” Click here to find out all eight reasons.
New in KR Podcasts
was at Kenyon recently as a fellow for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Just a day before she arrived on campus, something extraordinary happened: Her poem, “Good Bones,” went viral worldwide in the wake of the twin tragedies of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and the murder of British MP Jo Cox. KR
’s Andy Grace talked to Smith on June 29th about her work becoming known worldwide in a matter of days and the impact it’s had on her normal, suburban Ohio life. Listen to it!
From KROnline: Three Short Essays
BY BETH ANN FENNELLY
Please Pass the Vodka
Inside Wendy’s freezer: a bottle of vodka and a dead cat in plastic wrap. The cat she froze so she can bury it in Florida, where the cat was happy, before Wendy divorced and moved away to make a fresh start.
Read two more essays on KROnline.
A Glass-Ribbed Nest
BY MARIANNE MOORE
From The Kenyon Review, Summer 1940, Vol. II, No. 3
Originally titled “The Paper Nautilus,” this poem was revised in an exchange of letters between Moore and Elizabeth Bishop. The letters between them during this period reflect growing tensions in their relationship after Bishop’s rejection of Moore’s revisions to her poem “The Rooster,” but Moore’s poem imagines the two women’s poetic production as an act of fierce cultural preservation at a time when the world was once again spinning madly toward war.
For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters’ comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.
Continue reading this poem.
From the KR Blog: Memory Is Elsewhere
BY BRIAN MICHAEL MURPHY
June 25, 2016
“I want you to tell me a story ’bout when you were a little boy,” says my four-year-old girl every night. I tell her things I remember, and things I’ve forgotten. Muscle memory is like the sea floor, and it isn’t until it’s dredged that you realize what’s down there. Read the blog post.
A Micro-Conversation with Matthew Olzmann.
Matthew Olzmann’s poem “Letter to a Cockroach, Now Dead and Mixed into a Bar of Chocolate” appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of the Kenyon Review
and can be read here
Rather than writing about the origin of the chocolate, you wrote a poem about the cost of your own convenience, directed to a creature who might have died along the way. Why did you choose to direct the poem to the cockroach—as opposed to the cacao bean, the ship, or the person who made your shoes?
The poem didn’t initially address the cockroach; that came up much later in revisions. In earlier drafts, the poem felt too flat—more of a catalogue of odd facts—and moving to the direct address felt like a way to humanize or personalize the subject matter, to reach for a type of empathy and to implicate the speaker. Read the full interview.
A KR Review:
Walt Whitman and the Bohemians
BY DAVID S. REYNOLDS
In 1858, three years after the appearance of the first edition of his landmark poetry volume Leaves of Grass
, the thirty-nine-year-old Brooklynite Walt Whitman started frequenting Pfaff’s Restaurant and Lager Bier Saloon across the East River in Manhattan. Located below a hotel lobby at 647 Broadway, just north of Bleecker, Pfaff’s was approached through a sidewalk hatch that opened onto metal stairs leading down to a gas-lit room. A table that sat thirty ran through the room, which was lined on one side with wine casks.
Read the full review.