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Kenyon Review Newsletter - November 2014

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose It
By David Lynn, Editor

David Lynn“The Siege at Whale Cay”
by Megan Mayhew Bergman

I am often asked whether we ever work with an author to revise a submission that isn’t quite ready, in its original form, to appear in The Kenyon Review or KROnline. The honest answer: not often. We receive so many submissions that are largely without flaw, that the case for a piece that still needs work must be compelling indeed. It has to throw off a special spark, a truly memorable character or voice or dramatic situation that catches me by the throat so that I just can’t let it go.



Grodd Prize

The twelfth annual Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers is accepting entries now through November 30th. The prize, which is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world, is juried by David Baker, KR’s poetry editor.



Plus Ça Change!

Jan/Feb 2015

A letter to our subscribers:

Dear Reader,

Something new is on the way. With a fresh look and feel—and more frequent arrival—the soon-to-be-seen redesign of the magazine is the most daring change in our 75-year history.


Knox Reads Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder
Knox Reads!By Julia Weaver, KR Intern

Readers joined the celebration of The Kenyon Review’s 75th anniversary as the annual Kenyon Review Literary Festival took place in Gambier from October 23rd to the 25th. It might have been the magazine’s birthday, but the Review was the one giving out gifts: book giveaways in Knox County, poetry and prose readings by award-winning writers, and a keynote lecture by this year’s recipient of the Award for Literary Achievement, Ann Patchett.


Save the Date for KR’s Adult Writing Workshops!
Early in December, our Web site will be updated with all the Summer 2015 workshop information. For now, please mark your calendar for the workshops that interest you most!

June 13-20, 2015: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

June 27-July 3, 2015: The Art of Text, Novel Writing, and Writing for Teachers


The KR Podcast featuring an interview with Ann Patchett


Podcast Thoughts, Please?
MicrosurveyWe’re excited about our newly expanded podcasts, featuring author interviews as well as readings. We’re eager to know what you think of them.

Listen to our latest podcast with Ann Patchett and Associate Editor Natalie Shapero here, and please take our brief podcast microsurvey here. One lucky respondant, chosen at random, will win a 1-year subscription to The Kenyon Review beginning with our newly redesigned Jan/Feb 2015 issue!


Lucia PerilloFrom KRO
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: World and Word
by Lucia Perillo
In my graduate school, in the nineteen-eighties, frequently floated forth was the idea that language precedes reality—I think what that meant was I had—had to have—the word sandwich in my mind before the actual physical sandwich was summoned to our hand. This was met by objections about cavemen and mastodons and how the mastodons must have been dealt with, even if the cavemen hadn’t named the animal. The mental representation is a language, at least this was the counterargument, the institutional argument of the era (I have no idea if it still holds sway.) And so it went back and forth, back more than forth, because I did not have the vocabulary to out-argue the theorists, whom only the combination of immaturity and pride led me to pretend I understood.
Click here to read Lucia Perillo’s Credo.
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 Archives
Austin Warren
An original Kenyon Review Credo
The Kenyon Review, Spring 1951, Vol. XIII, No. 2
The Teacher as a Critic
by Austin Warren
Teaching literature and writing critically of literature ought to be indistinguishable, save that the teaching, if a lecture, is necessarily thinner. . . . The best criticism is the critic asking himself questions he finds hard to answer, and giving the most honest (even if tentative or uncertain or negative) answers he can.


From the KR BlogCody Walker
The Most Important Thing in the Universe
September 30, 2014 — Cody Walker
Jennifer Michael Hecht, at the end of her poetry collection Funny, writes, “Jokes are one part suddenness and one part grief. That’s why jokes are the most important thing in the universe.” (Hecht’s book, by the way, has an amazing cover: a bowl of soup, maybe cream of tomato, with only a knife and fork for silverware.) So let’s agree—for the length of this post, anyway—that jokes are the most important thing in the universe. Who would be so foolish as to doubt a joke’s power? (E. B. White: “A despot doesn’t fear eloquent writers preaching freedom—he fears a drunken poet who may crack a joke that will take hold.”) It’s a lesson that standup comics, and even a few poets, learn early: jokes can kill.


A Micro-Interview with Campbell McGrath
KR Conversations Campbell McGrath’s poem “A Greeting on the Trail” can be found here. “Two Poems for Czesław Miłosz” appears in the Fall 2014 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Campbell McGrathCould you tell us a little about “Two Poems for Czesław Miłosz”? What was the hardest part about writing it?

The poem was originally two poems, as the title suggests, and they both arose from the landscape. Only after completing the second poem did I see that the two, conjoined, comprised a sounder “response” to Miłosz, a more adequate testament to the complexity of his poetic and moral vision.

The Fall Issue,
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Fall 2014
Featuring the winners of the KR Short Fiction Contest
Joyce Carol Oates,
Campbell McGrath,
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