August 1, 2008KR BlogUncategorized

Curating The Kenyon Review

Just a few days ago, nearly the full back run of issues from The Kenyon Review was made available via JSTOR. (If JSTOR is new to you, you can find out about the organization and the archives they maintain here.) To get some sense of what this means, that’s nearly 220 issues worth of material, starting with the inaugural issue of KR in 1939. We packed up copies of each a year and an half ago and sent them to New York. Page by page, each issue was scanned, proofed for accuracy, and digitally stored. We had been talking about digitally archiving KR for some time, a conversation that began long before I started wearing the managing editor hat around here. But there were even more exciting possibilities beyond simple storage once a digital archive existed.

For a journal with nearly 70 years worth of material (its true! And we’re celebrating in a major way with our Winter ’09 issue–stay tuned), it is clear that managing the content that appears in the magazine only begins as an editorial concern. When the back run goes as deep as KR’s, our content needs to be considered from a curatorial perspective, too. How do we keep all of it in the bigger literary conversation? The pieces were chosen to appear in KR for their cultural and literary necessity–as David Lynn often says, their timelessness–but how do we insure the work remain physically viable to a readership that is interested in enjoying it? Furthermore, how do we make it as easy as possible for that readership to access the material?

For a fleeting moment, we thought about reincarnating the Wave Books Poetry Bus, loaded up with the KR archvies, taking it around the country and letting people put their hands and eyes on the back issues. Then I read an article that said the bus expected to burn through 1500 gallons of gas. So we parked the idea of KR landyacht.

JSTOR was the next best option, and here’s the coolest part: Using the JSTOR search tool (circled on the screen grab below)

…you can word-search the entire KR archives. Want to find out how many Flannery O’Connor stories KR has published? (5, including “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” though her name appears countless times throughout the history of the journal.) Poems of John Ashbery? (4, nearly forty-five years apart.) How many pieces have the word “petunia”? (2) How many have the word “hotdog”? (1). You can see how fun this could be–but also how important a research tool. Need to find something specific? Be specific. Want something general? Be general.

Access to JSTOR is currently available through participating libraries and institutions. Check your local public or institutional library–you may be in luck (You can find a list of participating institutions here). If not, don’t fret. We’re working with JSTOR to provide access to KR content via connection from the KR website. This will be an affordable way to access KR material from any internet connection, by password, regardless of where you are logging-in from. More on that in the coming weeks.

But for now, those with JSTOR access–enjoy!

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.