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Kenyon Review Newsletter - October 2014

Why We Chose It

Why We Chose It
By G.C. Waldrep, Editor at Large

Two poems by besmilr brigham

I’ve written for KRO before on the subject of neglectorinos and outsiders (see my 2013 review of Marosa di Giorgio, Alfred Starr Hamilton, and Joseph Ceravolo). Bess Miller (Moore) Brigham—or besmilr brigham, as she preferred—has been on my radar as one of American poetry’s more vivid outsiders for quite some time now,
ever since C.D. Wright, who knew brigham in her later years in Arkansas, edited and published a selection of brigham’s shorter lyrics (entitled Run through Rock) in 2000. I was thrilled when Robert Snyderman, a former student of Wright’s who was organizing brigham’s manuscripts and personal papers for transfer to Yale’s Beinecke Library, contacted me and offered previously-unpublished work.



State of WonderKnox Reads State of Wonder
KR launched this year’s Knox Reads! initiative by giving away free copies of State of Wonder, the most recent novel by Ann Patchett, winner of the 2014 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. Copies were distributed at the September 20th Mt. Vernon Farmers’ Market, as well as through Paragraphs Bookstore and the Kenyon College Bookstore. In addition, Kenyon College faculty will lead discussions at the Mount Vernon Public Library, and KR bloggers will be posting their thoughts about State of Wonder throughout this month on our site. Read the first post here.


Join us at the Kenyon Review Literary Festival
Ann PatchettFeaturing Ann Patchett
October 23-25

Gambier, Ohio

This year’s Kenyon Review Literary Festival is a double celebration! On Thursday, October 23, KR will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with a reading by KR Fellows Jamaal May and Melinda Moustakis. On Saturday, October 25th, award-winning novelist Ann Patchett, recipient of the 2014 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, will deliver the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture. Join us for three days of readings, workshops, panels, and events. Guaranteed to put you in a state of wonder!



Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize

The twelfth 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.


KR Podcasts: Now with Author Interviews
Fans and new listeners alike will love our latest enhancement of the KR podcast series. We’re expanding the content, adding interviews with writers to our menu of recorded selections from the magazine, hosted by Associate Editor Natalie Shapero and Consulting Editor Andy Grace. Our first interview is with poet and critic Maureen McLane, whose most recent book This Blue was recently longlisted for the National Book Award in poetry. Don’t miss it!


KR Book Club Launched
Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto and State of Wonder were the topics for a warm, friendly, and lively discussion at the first Kenyon Review Book Club session in New York. Hosted by Jennifer Ash Rudick on a Wednesday evening in September, those attending the gathering discussed various aspects of the two very different novels, ranging from ethical quandaries to the artistic challenges of a satisfying conclusion. David Lynn, KR editor, served as a moderator and sounding board, although the group more than happily charged ahead with a wide-ranging discussion. The next session will likely take place in March 2015. If you are interested in participating, in suggesting a book to be discussed, or in hosting a similar book club in your area, please email David Lynn.


Megan Mayhew BergmanFrom 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: Managing the Risks of Socially-Conscious Writing
by Megan Mayhew Bergman
I’m not sure if it was becoming a mother, or publishing my first book—because these events happened in essentially the same year—but when it comes to my writing career, all I can tell myself is: make it matter. Make it count. My concerns are nearly always environmental, and this environmental anxiety brings me to the page every day, and stays with me even as I try to shoo it away in lieu of less idea-driven work.
Click here to read Megan Mayhew Bergman’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
Arthur Mizener
An original Kenyon Review Credo
The Kenyon Review, Spring 1951, Vol. XIII, No. 2
Not in Cold Blood
by Arthur Mizener
I am sure it is a very good thing for the editors of The Kenyon Review to set up this little group portrait of contemporary criticism (like those engravings of the Confederate generals with a large, oval-cut Lee surrounded by a circlet of lesser generals). I am not at all sure it is a good thing for us to be engraving ourselves, especially as I have a feeling that Lee may get left out of the picture and that some of us staff second lieutenants may get drawn too big. Self-portraiture is a dangerous game, which can lead a practicing critic into the bad taste of saying that the essential possession for the practicing critic is good taste.


From the KR BlogT Clutch Fleischmann
But is it an essay?
August 25, 2014 — T Clutch Fleischmann
Although I have spent a hefty part of the past decade thinking about what an essay is, I admit that I usually have no satisfactory definition at hand. I am not alone here. People spend a lot of time wringing their hands about essays. They worry, if something is factually untrue, is it an essay? They ask, if something has line breaks, can it still be an essay? They wonder, can we call a song an essay? There are quite a few books about this, most of which are very good, and you might have read them.


A Micro-Interview with Allison Hutchcraft
KR Conversations Allison Hutchcraft’s poem “Oh Dodo, You Can’t,” can be found here. Two more poems, “Dodo, Duodo, Sluggard” and “You, Again,” appear in the Summer 2014 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Allison HutchcraftIs there a story behind your KR poems “Oh Dodo. You can’t,” “Dodo, duodo, sluggard,” and “You, again”? What was the hardest part about writing them?

Of these three, I wrote “Oh, Dodo. You can’t” first, and, as many poems seem to do, it came without warning. At the time, I had been living in a small, upstairs apartment in a carriage house that leaned heavily into Indiana soil. I was a student, just finishing the second year of my MFA and heading towards the stretch of summer before my final year. The trees outside were leafing, the birds doing what they do best in the sudden onset of Midwestern spring: crowding the air with song. Yet I was in a writing slump. Ideas stalled on the page, lines caught in my mouth and fell silent there. I remember wandering the apartment, looking for something to catch, and opening an oversized copy of The American Heritage Dictionary, inherited from the giveaway bin. It was the kind I remembered thumbing through as a child, with blue tabs marking off letters in pairs: AB, CD, and so on in gold, a dictionary with an encyclopedic flair, diagrams and photographs in the margins. I flipped the huge book open, landing in the “D” section, and there in the right-hand corner of the page was a drawing of the dodo: large-bodied, with those infamous wings, and feathers covering its strange head like a close-fitting cap.

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