blackbirdonline journalFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
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Founded in 2001 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2017 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068




Levis Remembered    
Welcome to Blackbird’s sixteenth Levis Remembered, a visit with the poetry of Larry Levis and an introduction to the twentieth annual Levis Reading Prize winner, Solmaz Sharif. The prize is given by the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University to the author of a first or second book of poems chosen by VCU’s panel of judges. Join us in discovering Solmaz Sharif’s very fine poems and in remembering Larry Levis’s matchless witness to the last decades of the twentieth century.   Larry Levis
A Conversation with Dorothy Allison     
On September 16, 2016, Dorothy Allison met with Blackbird editors for a Q&A in which Allison describes herself as “a runaway redneck with a gift for language” and is admirably forthright and open in her discussions of class, race, sex, and gender. Additionally, she offers poignant writing advice ranging from claiming ownership over lived experience to owning the identity of being a writer. Allison ends with a reading of her poem “We All Nourish Truth With Our Tongues.”   Dorothy Allison
A Reading by Mary Lou Hall & Hanna Pylväinen     
On September 8, 2016, Mary Lou Hall and Hanna Pylväinen read as a part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Visiting Writers Series at the James Branch Cabell Library. Hall read from her first novel, Wirewalker (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016), which won the James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel contest in 2011. Pylväinen read from her unpublished short story “United Snakes,” about a new resident in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood.   Hanna Pylväinen
MFA Alumni Reading     
On January 25, 2017, four Virginia Commonwealth University MFA graduates—Katy Resch George, Lea Marshall, Patricia A. Smith, and Audrey Walls—read as a part of VCU’s MFA Alumni Spotlight Event. George read her short story “The Third Prophecy,” and the title story from Exposure (Kore Press, 2016). Marshall read from her recently published chapbook, Write For Me (dancing girl press, 2016). Smith read from her first novel, The Year of Needy Girls (Kaylie Jones Books, 2017). Lastly, Walls read from her chapbook, Cyanosis (dancing girl press, 2016).   Audrey Walls
A Reading by Colson Whitehead     
On February 9, 2017, Colson Whitehead delivered the 15th Annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture. He begins with an immensely humorous and authentic discussion of his journey as a writer and then reads from his novel The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, 2016). Afterwards, Whitehead participates in a Q&A, responding to questions ranging from the conception of the novel and his writing process to knowledge of his ancestry and his take on the current political climate.   Colson Whitehead

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