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The Kenyon Review – Spring 2008

The Kenyon Review opens with a note from David H. Lynn describing a new project: KR Online. Although the editor mentions that pieces selected for online publication may be different than those selected for the journal, he promises that the “critical judgment and standards will remain intact.” If the online pieces are held to as high standard as those in the journal, readers should check out this new online addition.

The Kenyon Review opens with a note from David H. Lynn describing a new project: KR Online. Although the editor mentions that pieces selected for online publication may be different than those selected for the journal, he promises that the “critical judgment and standards will remain intact.” If the online pieces are held to as high standard as those in the journal, readers should check out this new online addition.

Meanwhile, in this paper issue, the nonfiction is particularly strong. In “A Life in Pods,” Michelle Richmond’s nuanced argument uses various metaphors relating to “pods” (coffee, chocolate, peas, whales, The Matrix, etc.) to show how technology has made our lives more isolated and less three-dimensional. “It is also much easier these days to disconnect…in a self-styled pod of personal convenience in which productivity may be increased but pleasure…is exponentially decreased.”

“Salter’s Gift” by Jeffrey Meyers is an excellent introduction to this lesser-known writer. And in “No,” Brian Doyle humorously reflects upon the giving and receiving of rejection letters.

My favorite story is Carolyn Buchanan’s “The Road,” in which an emotionally disturbed, mentally challenged narrator details his relationship with family members. Although short, this piece deftly demonstrates how the handicapped person negatively perceives his family’s friendly overtures. Although his illogic and abnormalities come through clearly to the reader, the narrator is oblivious to his own handicap/illness.

I also liked Deborah Schwartz’s “The City and the Moon,” a quietly sad story about how, in a short period of time, death takes a number of people closest to the main character. The concluding note is not despair, for he still has a loving wife, but a sense that memories will haunt his nighttime hours. Schwartz masterfully uses scenes and back story – instead of mere words – to accomplish this mood.

The simple and elegant titles and generally classy layout enhances The Kenyon Review’s good content. Although fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are dispersed throughout the journal, the title page lists the pieces by genre, an organization which assists a reader interested in specific genres. I don’t fear – at least not yet – that the online journal will supersede The Kenyon Review’s niche.
[https://www.kenyonreview.org/]

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