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Why We Chose It: "Inflorescense" by Catherine Staples

by Senior Editor Andrew Grace

“Inflorescence” by Catherine Staples appears in the Spring 2023 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Emerson said “Language is fossil poetry” as a way of paying homage to the beauty of the names of things. As we walk through a landscape, there is the pleasure of the senses to be had, sure, but there is also the Adamic pleasure of knowing the names of species and reciting them. Maybe a more intellectual kind of delight than the immediacy of the smell of lilac, but a delight nonetheless. This is part of what makes Catherine Staples’s “Inflorescence” such a sonic knockout: the mere act of reading into the record the names of the plants in her yard: anise hyssop, penstemon beardtongue, akebia, bittersweet. It’s a needed reminder that even the most typical plot of weeds crackles with its own vocabulary. Every derelict garden is a Hopkins sonnet if you read it closely enough.

Read the rest of the Why We Chose It here.

Applications for Two Summer Online Writers Workshops Close May 20

There’s still time to apply for our Online Translation Workshop and our Online Writers Workshop for Teachers! All Kenyon Review online adult workshops will occur June 18–24, 2023, so if you’re interested, follow the links, take a look at our phenomenal faculty, and apply now

Apply Now!
Photo of Beth Bachmann

Short Fiction Contest Results Announcement

Guest Judge Danielle Evans selected Beth Bachmann’s “The First Robot” as the winner of The Kenyon Review’s 2023 Short Fiction Contest. “Given how concise the story is,” writes Evans, “it would take a citation almost the length of ‘The First Robot’ to properly catalogue its virtues. The story feels grounded in a recognizable world while anchored to the strangeness of its perspective. It explores grief, art, utility, and the meaning of sentience, all while expertly balancing clarity and mystery. Its sentences unfold in a riveting and surprising fashion, and by its conclusion the story opens up to a question about humanity even larger than the questions with which it began. This is the voice of a confident, original writer.” “The First Robot” will appear in the Spring 2024 issue of The Kenyon Review.

Evans selected as runners up “Inside Jürgen Müller’s Apartment” by Moon Hee and “The Hunting Vest” by Mary Catherine Curley. Read the full citations here.

Recent Good News from the KR Community

Accomplishments of the KR community beyond our pages and workshops make us proud! Some recent news from members appears below and warrants celebration.

  • KR contributor and workshop instructor Victoria Chang received the Chowdhury Prize in Literature from USC Dornsife’s Department of English, with the support of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation, in collaboration with The Kenyon Review and Kenyon College.

Congratulations to all!

Congratulations to Graduating KR Interns and Associates

Each year, The Kenyon Review staff has the privilege of working with a remarkably talented, creative, and insightful group of Kenyon College students in the KR Associates Program. We are so grateful for the time and energy that these students dedicate to The Kenyon Review, and we wish the graduating Associates and Interns the best of luck on their next adventures!

Congratulations Naseem Alavi, Amelia Carnell, Aaliyah Daniels, Kat Ellis, Molly Fording, Emily Gaines, Emma Johnson, Anastasia Langner, Michelle Lin, Elijah Manning, Christian Maric, Samuel Mineiro, Cameron Moore, Molly Moran, Abigail Patton, R. Emmaline Rogers, Sydney Schulman, Jade Sham, Nicholas Singer, Flannery Strain, Madeline Vonk, Melody Wagoner, Benjamin Weiner, and Xinjie Zheng.

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The Kenyon Review is supported in part by generous grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Smart Family Foundation.