Winter 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 1 Kenyon Review New Voices |

Introduction: Banner Year

I hope you will excuse me if, at the inaugural moment of a series introducing newly emerging voices, I express my trepidation, for while I have no doubt that Keith Banner is already a writer worthy of special notice—whose works speak with an urgency that ought to receive our attention—I am all too aware of what American culture does to young talent. In the literary marketplace, such new voices are repeatedly traded by critics and readers as if they were hot, speculative stocks with unusual growth potential and dumped without regret if within a reasonable time—which usually means before the next hot prospect emerges—they don't bring in enormous profit. Nor is this mercantile figure merely a metaphor. Now that entertainment conglomerates completely dominate commercial publishing, there is no longer a midlist that allows writers the opportunity to develop an audience. Young writers move from buzz to bust. Even an initial success is no guarantee of continual publication. One rea

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David Bergman is the author most recently of The Poetry of Disturbance: The Discomforts of Postwar American Poetry (Cambridge, 2015). His latest book of poetry is Fortunate Light (Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013). He teaches at Towson University.

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