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Poetry and Daily Life

Every 4th of July in Gambier, Ohio–at least those that I have been a part of–the mayor (currently Kirk Emmert) usually makes a speech accompanying a festive parade, which typically includes some remarks in the spirit of the day. The parade is pure rural Americana magic (more to follow on this peculiar phenomena in the forthcoming installment of the KR Young Writers blogpost series). This year, he included naming a Poet Laureate of Gambier–fellow KR Young Writer instructor and current Stegner Fellow Andy Grace–and had asked Andy in advance to read a poem in honor of the day. The poem is lovely–it is entitled “Harvest”, and you can find it by following the above link to the Cortland Review, and then scrolling to the last poem on the webpage. Andy read the poem to what legitimately felt like the whole village. (The estimated population in 2003 was just under 2,000 residents.) The poem speaks to a ruralness not unlike the area the surrounds Gambier.

Mayor Emmert then read this proclamation:

“Whereas poetry and literature enhance life in the Village of Gambier,

and whereas Kenyon College has a reputation for the excellent teaching and writing of poetry and literature,

and whereas poetry touches us in ways that remind us of our connectedness as citizens and human beings,

and whereas Kenyon graduate Andy Grace is an accomplished poet who has written a poem to help us celebrate the 4th of July,

Now therefore, I, Kirk Emmert, Mayor of Gambier, do hereby proclaim Andy Grace to be the Poet Laureate of the Village of Gambier for the year 2007.”

What struck me most from Gambier’s celebration is how little we see poetry these days in public life, outside of a bookstore or library or academic building. Would that more mayors consider what Emmert recognizes as an intrinsic value of poetry: the ability it has to connect us to ourselves and each other, above class, race, gender and other everyday divisions that separate. As such, the true political value of poetry. May all elected leaders make more use of this abundant (and cheap) resource.

I invite you to crib from the above proclamation and send to your mayor as you see fit.

About the Program

The Kenyon Review Associates Program provides Kenyon students with valuable experience in literary editing, publishing, and programming. KR Associates work closely with Kenyon Review staff, gaining valuable experience in a number of editing, publishing, and programming areas including manuscript evaluation, publicity and marketing, copy editing, developing web site and social media content, outreach programming, event planning and promotion, and other creative and editorial projects

KR Associates attend regular seminars conducted by Kenyon Review editorial staff, visiting readers, and publishing industry professionals. These seminars cover a wide range of topics including editorial philosophy, evaluation of submissions, print and electronic production, marketing, and design.

KR Associates enjoy also enjoy exclusive access to visiting writers and speakers, free issues of The Kenyon Review, and valuable work experience and employment references.

This program is made possible through an initiative of the Kenyon Review, part of the mission of which is to contribute to the enrichment of the academic, cultural, and artistic life of the Kenyon College community.

Requirements and Expectations

  • Submission Evaluation: All Associates are required to read and evaluate eight Kenyon Review submissions per week. Associates who are not able to complete their weekly submission assignments for more than two weeks in a row may not be allowed to continue in the program.
  • Trainings and Seminars: In-person attendance is mandatory at all trainings and seminars. We plan on scheduling six to eight seminars per semester, and most will take place on Thursdays during common hour.
  • Literary Engagement: Associates are expected to participate in literary events on campus and throughout the local community.

Application Details

The application deadline for the 2023-24 program has passed. Applications for the 2024-25 program will open in the fall of 2024. Please check back then for more details.

Questions? Please contact Tory Weber for more information.