blackbirdonline journalFall 2015  Vol. 16 No. 2

Introduction and Table of Contents

spacer Larry Levis
   In 1967
   Manuscript Variations: In 1967

Solmaz Sharif
winner of the 2017 Levis Reading Prize
   Force Visibilty  
   Mess Hall  

A Conversation with Solmaz Sharif  audio

20th Annual Levis Reading Prize  audio
with a reading by prize winner Solmaz Sharif; commentary by John Ulmschneider, Gregory Donovan, and Emily Block.

Victoria C. Flanagan
   Review | Look, by Solmaz Sharif

(The Levis Prize award event and reading, usually held in the fall, will not take place until March 29. 2018. Audio of that event, and a review of Look, will be added to this issue in April.)


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.

Each fall, Blackbird calls attention to some aspect of Levis’s work, and this year we particularly ask you to reenter “In 1967” as a nod to the fiftieth anniversary of the actual Summer of Love.

In revisiting this poem we not only invite you to reconsider the events of 1967 through Levis’s memory but also to view the poem through the lens of the textual issues that arise when editing a posthumous collection of work. Accordingly, we have included three images of Levis’s manuscript documents taken from VCU Libraries’ Levis collection. These images illustrate his method of experimenting with different endings for the poem and point to the difficulty of finalizing the piece.spacer

The winner of the twentieth annual Levis Reading Prize, Solmaz Sharif, is represented here by a selection of poems from her winning book, Look: a collection that notices and, in its intensely realized poems, refuses to turn away from violence.

We invite you to explore Levis’s work, both in Blackbird and in his books. We thank his sister, Sheila Brady, and his son, Nick Levis, for the opportunity to recognize him here.

The Levis Prize is sponsored by the VCU Department of English, VCU Libraries, Barnes & Noble @ VCU, VCU Honors College, the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, and the family of Larry Levis.  end