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Kenyon Review Newsletter - October 2013

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose it
By Natalie Shapero, KR Fellow

Natalie ShaperoOn Christa Romanosky’s “Sex Education”

I’ve heard that, for writers of fiction, crafting a successful short story in the second person is something of a rite of passage. It seems fitting, then, that Christa Romanosky’s powerful second-person narrative takes as its subject a series of contemporary rites of passage: navigating the school system, body anxiety, finding the right job, sex and its promise and consequences, illness. Erica, the sympathetic and bereft protagonist, struggles and fails to make sense of each phase of her life as it passes her by. The voice of this story, taking us in reverse through Erica’s upbringing and early adulthood, manages to be at once fraught and snappy, at once commanding and a little off.

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Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize

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

Double ShadowKnox Reads Double Shadow
KR launched this year’s Knox Reads! initiative by giving away free copies of Double Shadow, a collection of poems by Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement winner Carl Phillips. Copies were distributed at the October 5th Mt. Vernon Farmers’ Market, as well as through Paragraphs Bookstore and the Kenyon College Bookstore. In addition, KR bloggers will be posting their thoughts about Double Shadow throughout this month on our site. Read the first post here.

Join us at the Kenyon Review Literary Festival

Award-winning poet Carl Phillips, recipient of the 2013 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, headlines this year’s Kenyon Review Literary Festival, where he will deliver the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture on November 9. Join us for two days of readings, workshops, panels, and events. Guaranteed to inspire and delight!

From the KR Archives
Eamon Grennan
The Kenyon Review, New Series, Fall 1989, Vol. XI, No. 4
by Eamon Grennan
Mornings when I put the necessary sunblock on
it’s always summer: sweet and greasy, a smell
of summer saturates the air, although frost
bones over the bathroom window and it’s winter
in the bony trees outside, early-morning headlights
flickering through the solid black of branches
like June fireflies or moths in August. Last week
a willow tree bowing pale green and pale amber
over a pond of swans was for one unwary minute
the dead image of spring, although the light
was light of late October and those leaves, for
all their lavish seeming, were only leftovers
from grace, a throwback not a promise. In fact

Lee SharkeyFrom KRO
His Undoing
by Lee Sharkey
The sky is a vast wing      you can smell it

lie down over the length of you      become a horizon
First kissed of your father      but never his best beloved
Self-exile asleep in the desert      hip jut and shoulder the mountains’
Click here to finish reading this poem.
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 BlogSolmaz Sharif
Who is the Greatest American Poet of the 20th Century?
September 22, 2013 — Solmaz Sharif
The question was posed in a workshop. The workshop seemed mostly divided between Stevens and Frost. “No one is suggesting a female poet,” a colleague whispered to me, sympathetically, then offered: “Marianne Moore!”

Greatness is, to me, the least interesting qualifier of the question. I want to know what we mean when we say 20th Century and American. Is claiming Frost or Stevens or Moore the best way to exemplify such things? And by such things I’m thinking some of the great debates around 20th century American poetics—free verse, open field, locality, the politicization of form, Black Arts Movement, &c—and, for that matter, America—the vote, years and years of global warfare, urbanization, factory farming, Civil Rights Movements, separatist movements, jazz, &c. Even this attempt to tease out these qualifiers, to find someone exemplary of these abstractions, I risk the pitfalls of greatness, but when I think of 20th Century and American, I think of Gwendolyn Brooks.

A Micro-Interview with T. C. Boyle
KR ConversationsBoyle’s story appears in the Fall 2013 issue of The Kenyon Review.

T. C. BoyleCan you identify the seed of inspiration of your story “Slate Mountain”? What was the hardest part about writing it?

Inspiration comes buzzing in like a hummingbird to hover just over the back of my head (which is why I always wear a reversed baseball cap while writing). In this case, I was up in the Sierras, where I spend a whole lot of time, and heard of a Sierra Club hike (60-plus) that went wrong in just the way of the story. Slate Mountain is the big rearing black slab of granite I see out the window each day when I’m up in the Sequoia Park. I have mounted it myself. And because I know the search and rescue people, this one was delivered to me, neatly wrapped. Then all I had to do was snatch the hummingbird out of the air and squeeze it real hard.

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Fall 2013
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