blackbirdonline journalFall 2015  Vol. 16 No. 2

Reading Loop Introduction & Table of Contents


Larry Levis
   Ghost Confederacy
   Winter Stars
Kaveh Akbar
   poems from Calling a Wolf a Wolf,
   winner of the 2018 Levis Reading Prize   
   Portrait of The Alcoholic with Home Invader and

   Thirstiness Is Not Equal Division
   new poems
   Against Memory
   What I Am Looking for Is What Is Looking

21st Annual Levis Reading Prize 
   a reading by prize winner Kaveh Akbar

A Conversation with Kaveh Akbar 

Rosanna Oh
   Review | Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar


Blackbird’s Levis Remembered reading loop features a selection of poems by Larry Levis as well as an introduction to the twenty-first Levis Reading Prize winner, Kaveh Akbar. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English and its MFA program in creative writing award the prize to the author of a first or second book of poems. The celebratory event at which the prize was awarded featured, as always, a memorial tribute to Levis along with a reading by the prizewinner, presented here in an audio recording and in transcription.

Each fall Blackbird calls attention to some aspect of Levis’s work, and this year we have brought into focus the motif of stars as deployed in two memorable poems by him—one early and one late—as well as “Fish,” a poem from his first book, which could reflect today’s headlines about police brutality.

Kaveh Akbar, winner of the Levis Reading Prize, is represented here by two new, previously unpublished poems as well as a selection of poems from his winning book, Calling a Wolf a Wolf—an adroit, spiritually profound collection that enacts a personal triumph over addiction and a search for a complicated identity with intellectual and philosophical integrity. Also available here is a recorded conversation with Akbar along with a review of his prizewinning collection.

We invite your exploration of the writing of Larry Levis, both here 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 Reading Prize is sponsored by the VCU Department of English, VCU Libraries, Barnes & Noble @ VCU, the VCU Honors College, the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, and the family of Larry Levis.  end