Cover of Kenyon Review Spring 2023 issue

Spring 2023

Vol. XLV, No. 2

The Spring 2023 issue of The Kenyon Review includes a folio of literature in translation guest edited by award-winning translators Jennifer Croft, Anton Hur, and Jeremy Tiang. The issue also includes poetry by Kwame Dawes, Timothy Donnelly, K. Iver, and Danusha Laméris; fiction by Sam J. Miller, Michael Tod Powers, J. T. Sutlive, and Lindsay Turner; nonfiction by A. J. Bermudez; and the winner of the 2022 Short Fiction Contest, judged by Karen Russell. The cover art is by Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum.

In the Issue

2022 Short Fiction Contest

Nonfiction

Fiction

Poetry

Translation Folio

Why We Chose It

Cover Image

Rider (2020)

Pencil, oil, and acrylic on wood panel

152 x 224 cm

© Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Courtesy Goodman Gallery, London and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Photo: Alexander Edwards Photography

Contributors’ Notes

Aftab Ahmad is a senior lecturer in Urdu at Columbia University. He translates between Hindi, Urdu, and English and holds a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Olja Alvir was born in Yugoslavia and grew up in Vienna, where she works as a writer, translator, and literary scholar. She is the author of the German-language novel Kein Meer (Zaglossus, 2016) and the trilingual poetry collection Spielfeld/Špilfeld/Playground (Kollektiv, 2022), with her poem “Pomelo” winning first prize in a young authors short-form contest in 2021. Alvir has been the recipient of residency fellowships in Split and Zagreb, her literary and political writing on identity and displacement has appeared internationally. She is currently pursuing a PhD in South Slavic literature while working on her second novel, White Salamander.

Bae Myung-hoon is an acclaimed South Korean writer of science fiction known for his inventive world-building and biting political humor. His debut story collection, Tower (Honford Star, 2021), is the first Korean science fiction book by a single author to be translated into English. Bae has written more than a dozen novels and short-story collections, an essay collection, and a sci-fi children’s book.

Emily Balistrieri was born in 1985, in the United States, and is now based in Japan. His translations include Tomihiko Morimi’s The Tatami Galaxy (HarperVia, 2022), Eiko Kadono’s Kiki’s Delivery Service (Delacorte Press, 2020), and Shaw Kuzki’s Soul Lanterns (Yearling, 2021). Most recently he translated Ao Omae’s People Who Talk to Stuffed Animals Are Nice (HarperVia, 2023).

Lana Bastašić is a Yugoslav-born writer. She majored in English and holds a master’s degree in cultural studies. She has published three collections of short stories, one book of children’s stories, and one of poetry. Her debut novel, Catch the Rabbit (Restless Books, 2021), was shortlisted for the 2019 NIN Award and was awarded the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature. She lives in Belgrade.

A. J. Bermudez is the author of Stories No One Hopes Are About Them (University of Iowa Press, 2022), winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Boulevard, Story, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Diverse Voices Prize, the PAGE International Screenwriting Award, and the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.

M. W. Brooke is a queer writer originally from the American Southwest, now living in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Atticus Review, CHEAP POP, Waxwing, and X-R-A-Y. Find her online at www.mwbrooke.com or @mwbrooke on Twitter.

Isabelle Burden is a writer and translator born and raised in New York City. She is a Mississippi Review Prize finalist, and her fiction has appeared in the 2022 issue of that magazine as well as in American Short Fiction and Hanging Loose. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and is fluent in German, a skill she utilizes in her work at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations. Burden is currently crafting her first novel.

Priya Sarukkai Chabria is an award-winning translator, poet and writer. Her books include two speculative fiction novels Clone (Zubaan, 2018) and Generation 14 (Zubaan, 2008); literary nonfiction Bombay/Mumbai: Immersions (Niyogi, 2013); four poetry collections, most recently, Sing of Life: Revisioning Tagore’s Gitanjali (Westland/Amazon, 2021); and translations from Classical Tamil, including Andal: The Autobiography of a Goddess (Zubaan, 2016), winner of the Muse Translation Award 2017. She is founding editor of poetry at Sangam (poetry.sangamhouse.org) and is editing World Poetry in Translation (SpeakingTiger Books, 2023). Chabria channels Sanskrit rasa aesthetics and Tamil Sangam (4–2 BCE) poetics into her work. She has collaborated with dancers, filmmakers, and photographers.
Find her at www.priyasarukkaichabria.com.

Jennifer Croft won a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship for her novel Amadou, the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her illustrated memoir, Homesick, and the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation from Polish of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. She has also translated Sylwia Chutnik, Sebastián Martínez Daniell, Federico Falco, Pedro Mairal, Sylvia Molloy, Bronka Nowicka, Romina Paula, Sylwia Siedlecka, Natalka Sniadanko, Lyuba Yakimchuk, and many others. She lives in Tulsa.

Monica Cure is a Romanian American poet, translator, and dialogue specialist. Her translation of Moldovan-born Romanian writer Liliana Corobca’s novel The Censor’s Notebook was published in 2022 by Seven Stories Press, and her poetry translations have appeared in Plume, Asymptote, and Modern Poetry in Translation. Her own poems have appeared in Plume, Roanoke Review, Rust + Moth, Little Stone Journal, and elsewhere. She is currently based in Bucharest.

Kwame Dawes is the author of numerous books of poetry and other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His most recent collection, UnHistory, was cowritten with John Kinsella (Peepal Tree Press, 2022). Dawes is a George W. Holmes University Professor of English and the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner. He teaches in the Pacific University MFA Program and is the series editor of the African Poetry Book Series, director of the African Poetry Book Fund, and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. He is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Dawes is the winner of the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2022 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In 2022, Dawes was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander class, by the Government of Jamaica.

Arthur Malcolm Dixon is lead translator and managing editor of the multilingual literary journal Latin American Literature Today. His translations have been featured in Asymptote, Boston Review, International Poetry Review, Literary Hub, Poesía, Trafika Europe, and World Literature Today. He also works as a community interpreter in Tulsa and has been a Tulsa Artist Fellow since August 2020.

Timothy Donnelly’s fourth book of poems, Chariot, will be published this spring by Wave Books. His previous collections include The Cloud Corporation (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and The Problem of the Many (Wave Books, 2019), winner of the inaugural Big Other Award for Poetry. Donnelly teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn.

Eirill Falck is a Norwegian-born writer and translator. She is a co-founder of MQR: Mixtape, an imprint of Michigan Quarterly Review. Her work has been recognized with an Iowa Arts Fellowship and a Zell Fellowship, and with the John Wagner Prize and the Hopwood Award. She collects screams. If you would like her to listen to your scream, you can leave her a voice-mail message at (424) 226-6734.

Margaret Galey is an Iowa-born artist and writer living in Lexington, Kentucky. Her work has appeared in Hyperallergic, Midwest Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.

Anton Hur has translated books by Kyung-Sook Shin, Bora Chung, Sang Young Park, Ocean Vuong, and others. A graduate of the Korea University College of Law and Seoul National University Graduate School, he has worked as a translator and interpreter for more than twenty years. He resides in Seoul.

Diana Iepure is a Moldovan Romanian poet and translator born in 1970, in Chișinău. She has published three volumes of poetry, most recently Other Than That, Life Is Beautiful (2021), which was nominated for the Sofia Nădejde Award in poetry. She has translated several Russian-language writers into Romanian, including Nicolae Velmirovici, Boris Akunin, Alexei Salnikov, and Sergej Timofejev. Iepure lives in Bucharest and works at Paralela 45 publishing house.

K. Iver is a nonbinary trans poet from Mississippi. Their book Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco (Milkweed Editions, 2023) won the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, TriQuarterly, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. They have a PhD in poetry from Florida State University. For more, visit kleeiver.com.

Katrine Øgaard Jensen is a writer and a translator from the Danish. She is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the Danish Arts Foundation’s Young Artistic Elite Fellowship in 2020 as well as the 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry for her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s book-length poem Third-Millennium Heart (Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books, 2017). Her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s Outgoing Vessel (Action Books, 2021) was a finalist for the 2022 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Jensen’s latest translation, My Jewel Box, also by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, was published by Action Books in March 2022.

Daniel Kraft is a poet, translator, and educator living in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in Jewish studies from Harvard Divinity School, and his poems, essays, and translations of Yiddish and Hebrew appear in a number of publications, including Poetry Ireland Review, Image, and Jewish Currents. More information is available at danieljkraft.com.

Danusha Laméris is the author of Bonfire Opera (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), winner of a Northern California Book Award. Some of her work has been published in The Best American Poetry, Orion, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. She coleads the Poetry of Resilience webinars with James Crews and is on the faculty of Pacific University’s low residency MFA program. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Lee Jenny is a South Korean poet. She made her literary debut with the poem “Peru” in 2008, which won her the Kyunghyang Daily News New Writer’s Award. She has since published four poetry collections, the most recent of which include 있지도 않은 문장은 아름답고 (The Sentence That Doesn’t Even Exist Still Is Beautiful And, Hyundae Munhak, 2019) and 그리하여 흘려 쓴 것들 (Scribbles I Thus Spilled, Moonji, 2019). She was awarded the Pyeon-un Literature Award for excellence in poetry and the Kim Hyeon Prize, in 2011 and 2016, respectively. Most recently, in 2021, Lee received the Hyundae Munhak Prize. Lee is known for lyricism, rhythm, and wordplay in her work; critics have likened her poetry to incanting a spell.

Archana Madhavan is a literary translator from Korean into English. Her first book-length work is a cotranslation of Glory Hole by Kim Hyun (Seagull Books, 2022). Her other poetry and prose translations have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation, Columbia Journal, The Puritan, and Korean Literature Now, and are forthcoming elsewhere. In 2022, Archana was chosen as an ALTA Emerging Translator to translate poetry from Lee Jenny’s collection 아마도 아프리카 (Maybe Africa, Changbi, 2010).

Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was a Norwegian artist whose best-known motif, The Scream (Skrik, 1893), ranks among the world’s most recognizable artworks.

Ao Omae was born in 1992, in Hyogo Prefecture. Hailed in Japan as a rising star of gender-conscious literature since the publication in 2020 of People Who Talk to Stuffed Animals Are Nice, he debuted in 2016 with a short story that was eventually included in the 2018 collection Kaitengusa, of which “Tumbleweed” is the titular story. Other titles by Ao include Watashi to wani to imōto no heya (A room for a crocodile, my sister, and me), Omoroi igai irannen (Only the funny stuff), and Marumi-chan to Usagi-kun (Marumi and Usagi).

Ursula Andkjær Olsen (b. 1970) made her literary debut in 2000 and has since published nine collections of poetry and one novel, in addition to several dramatic texts and libretti for operas, such as Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s Sol går op, sol går ned and composer Peter Bruun’s Miki Alone, awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2008. Olsen has received numerous awards for her work, including the Danish Arts Foundation’s Award of Distinction in 2017, the 2012 Montanaprisen award for Det 3. årtusindes hjerte (Third-Millennium Heart, Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books, 2017), and the 2015 Danish Critics Prize for Literature for Udgående fartøj (Outgoing Vessel, Action Books, 2021). Since 2019, Olsen has served as head of the Danish Academy of Creative Writing. Her latest poetry collection, Mit smykkeskrin (My Jewel Box), was published by Gyldendal in 2020 and Action Books in 2022.

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet from Ireland with interests in conflict, religion, and language. His most recent collection is Feed the Beast (Broken Sleep Books, 2022). He presents the podcast Poetry Unbound from On Being Studios, from which Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World (Canongate and  W.W. Norton, 2022) comes. His work has been published in Harvard Review, Poetry Ireland, Poem-a-Day, and many other places.

Michael Tod Powers lives in Los Angeles, where he recently completed a PhD in creative writing and literature at USC. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The O. Henry Prize Stories, Boston Review, New Letters, The Threepenny Review, American Short Fiction, and numerous other magazines and journals. Powers is currently at work on a novel about art and parenthood in the climate crisis. You can find him online at michaeltodpowers.com

Joy Priest is the author of Horsepower (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a 2019–2020 Fine Arts Work Center fellowship, and the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, The Atlantic and The Nation, among others, as well as in commissions for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She is the editor of Once a City Said: A Louisville Poets Anthology, forthcoming from Sarabande Books in 2023. 

The songs of ninth-century Tamil mystic Ma​nikkavacakar are considered the epitome of Southern Saiva bhakti devotional expression and comprise the eighth book (more than a thousand songs) of the Thirumurai, regarded by followers as on par with the Sanskrit Vedas. Today, twelve centuries later, his words live in the hearts and tongues of devotees. Manikkavacakar wrote in Classical Tamil, and largely followed rules laid down in the Tolkaappiyam, a treatise on prosody and grammar composed some eight centuries earlier.

Sam J. Miller’s books have been called “must read”s and “best of the year” by USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and O: The Oprah Magazine. Miller is the Nebula Award–winning author of Blackfish City (Ecco, 2018), which has been translated into six languages. His short stories have been nominated for World Fantasy and Locus awards, among others, and reprinted in dozens of anthologies. Miller is also the last in a long line of butchers. He lives in New York City and at samjmiller.com.

Noelle de la Paz is a poet, writer, and artist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Southwest Review, Newtown Literary, Queensbound, and elsewhere, and as part of the exhibitions Otherwise Obscured: Erasure in Body and Text (Franklin Street Works, 2019) and Boulevard of Ghosts (Local Project Art Space, 2021). She was a 2021–22 Emerge–Surface–Be Fellow at The Poetry Project, and has also received support from Brooklyn Poets and the Queens Council for the Arts.

Jianan Qian and Alyssa Asquith are both recent graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with MFA degrees in fiction. Qian is a staff writer at The Millions, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, Guernica, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, among others. Asquith’s stories have appeared in The Adroit Journal, X-R-A-Y, Hobart, Atticus Review, and elsewhere.

Gabriel Antonio Reed (he/him) is a poet from East Tennessee. He is pursuing his PhD at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and holds an MFA from Hollins University. His work is forthcoming in The Seneca Review and has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Susurrus, and El Nieuwe Acá. He is an assistant editor at Red Flag Poetry. He lives with his spouse, Maggie, and daughter, Eloise, who loves to jump.

Kaitlin Rees is a translator, editor, and teacher based in New York City, with reachings toward Hanoi. She translates from the Vietnamese of Nhã Thuyên, with whom she cofounded AJAR, a small bilingual journal-presse that organizes an occasional poetry festival. Her full-length translations include Moon Fevers (Tilted Axis, 2019), words breathe, creatures of elsewhere (Vagabond Press, 2016), and the forthcoming book of poetry taste of water.

Daisy Rockwell is a painter and translator of Hindi and Urdu literature. She was awarded the 2022 International Booker Award, with Geetanjali Shree, for her translation of Shree’s Hindi novel Tomb of Sand.

Sung Ryu is a Korean English translator who has called South Korea, the US, Canada, and Singapore home. Her translations include Tower by Bae Myung-hoon (Honford Star, 2021), Shoko’s Smile by Choi Eunyoung (Penguin Books, 2021), and I’m Waiting for You: And Other Stories by Kim Bo-Young (cotranslated with Sophie Bowman, Harper Voyager, 2021). 

Clarisse Baleja Saïdi is the recipient of fellowship support from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, Art Omi, and more. In 2021, she was awarded a Canada Council of the Arts grant for a nonfiction proposal, and in 2022–23, she’ll serve as a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her recent work has appeared in Poetry magazine and The Fiddlehead.

Susan Shepherd’s fiction has been published in Ploughshares (Summer 2020), the Chicago Quarterly Review (Spring 2022), and Story (Summer 2022), and her award-winning short radio comic strip 11 Central Ave has aired on NPR. Her work as a producer and reporter has aired on NPR’s Living on Earth, PRI’s Marketplace, and multiple daily NPR shows, and she was a contributor to a weekly column about science and nature for The Boston Globe. Shepherd’s story “Baboons” is part of an in-progress linked collection of short stories called Animalia; her story “Goats” (which appeared in Ploughshares) was listed as a Distinguished Story in Best American Short Stories 2021, guest edited by Jesmyn Ward. Shepherd lives outside Boston and is working on a fiction podcast.

Florentino Solano is a writer, translator, musician, and farm worker from Metlatónoc, Guerrero, Mexico. He writes in his native language, Tu’un Savi, and translates his own writing into Spanish. In 2021, he received both the Premio de Literaturas Indígenas de América for his chronicle Yaa táxá’á kàà tùxìi (La danza de las balas) and the Premio Nezahualcóyotl de Literatura en Lenguas Mexicanas for his verse collection Tákúu ndi’i tachi si’í yu (Todas las voces de mi madre).

Catherine Staples is the author of The Rattling Window (The Ashland Poetry Press, 2013), winner of the McGovern Prize, and a chapbook, Never a Note Forfeit (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, the Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. She teaches at Villanova University.

The imagery in Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s work reflects the diverse genealogies of her experience living in different parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America as well as ongoing research in ethnography, ecology, and quantum physics. The artist’s boundary-crossing practice centers Black female identity in the discourse of postcolonialism and neocolonialism, highlighting the contributions of overlooked historical figures while emphasizing modes of knowledge and communication beyond the status quo. Her most recent exhibition is I have withheld much more than I have written (Galerie Lelong, New York, 2022).

J. T. Sutlive is a writer from San Antonio, Texas. His work has been published in JMWW, Catapult, and The Believer, among others. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he is working on a novel.

Nhã Thuyên was born in 1986, in Việt Nam and works as a writer and editor in Hà Nội. Her most recent books are bất\ \tuẫn: những hiện diện [tự-] vắng trong thơ Việt and its English edition: un\ \martyred: [self-]vanishing presences in Vietnamese poetry (Roofbook, 2019) and Moon Fevers (Tilted Axis Press, 2019). Her main practices are writing between languages, experimenting with translations, and poetic exchanges. With Kaitlin Rees, she founded AJAR in 2014, a micro bilingual literary journal-press, a precariously online, printed space for poetic exchange. She otherwise talks to walls and soliloquies nonsense when having no other emergencies of life to deal with. Her next book of poetry vị nước (taste of waters)is waiting to see the moon.

Jeremy Tiang has translated more than twenty books from Chinese, including novels by Yan Ge, Yeng Pway Ngon, Chan Ho-Kei, Lo Yi-Chin, Zhang Yueran, Geling Yan and Liu Xinwu. He won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018 for his novel State of Emergency, and also writes and translates plays. Tiang lives in New York City.

Lindsay Turner is the author of the poetry collection Songs & Ballads (Prelude Books, 2018) and the translator of several books of contemporary Francophone poetry and philosophy, including works by Stéphane Bouquet, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Anne Dufourmantelle, and Ryoko Sekiguchi. Her second book of poems, The Upstate, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in fall 2023. Turner lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is Assistant Professor in English and Creative Writing at Case Western Reserve University. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, The Worst Animal.

Following the Spanish-American War of 1898, The U.S. War Department established the Division of Customs and Insular Affairs to administer customs and civil affairs in the territories ceded to the United States by Spain, which included Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

Zhu Yue was born in Beijing, in 1977. He practiced as a lawyer before becoming an editor. As Paper Republic puts it, “China is not short of writers who swear fealty to Borges, but Zhu Yue is one of the few whose work has philosophical weight to substantiate the metafictional trimmings.” To date, Zhu has published four short-story collections: The Blindfolded Traveler (2006), Masters of Sleep (2010), Chaos of Fiction (2015), and Running Wild (2021).