blackbirdonline journalSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
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Founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2019 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068



Introductions Reading Loop      
The Introductions Reading Loop celebrates a selection of writers whose work you may be encountering for the first time. In this issue, we feature poets Holli Carrell, Zach Hester, Joey Kingsley, and Amy O’Reilly; fiction writers Ciera Burch, Emily Chiles, and Gwen E. Kirby; and essayist Sarah Golin. These authors are at the start of promising careers and offer an excellent entryway into our contemporary literary landscape.   Emily Chiles
Tracking the Muse      
Since 2007 we have invited contributors from the annual Introductions Reading Loop to comment on their creative processes and sources of inspiration. For these emerging writers, stimulus takes many forms: the voices of ancestral connection, the unraveling of a story’s thread, or coping with failure or success as daily measure. In this issue, Ciera Burch, Holli Carrell, Emily Chiles, Sarah Golin, Zach Hester, Joey Kingsley, Gwen E. Kirby, and Amy O’Reilly continue the tradition in Tracking the Muse.   Holli Carrell
Cabell First Novelist Award Reading Loop     
On November 6, 2018, at James Branch Cabell Library, Hernan Diaz received the 2018 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for his novel In the Distance (Coffee House Press, 2017). Included is an excerpt from the novel, a recording of Diaz’s reading, and a transcript of the panel discussion featuring Hernan Diaz, Coffee House Press publisher Chris Fischbach, and literary translator Heather Cleary. Blackbird’s review of In the Distance by Matthew Phipps is also included.   Hernan Diaz
Claudia Emerson Reading Loop    
The Claudia Emerson Reading Loop celebrates two previously unpublished Emerson poems, “Face Blindness” and “Single Shot,” and Lena Moses-Schmitt’s essay “Reading Claudia Emerson’s ‘Eschatologies.’” Moses-Schmitt’s essay considers yet another previously unpublished poem that remains unfinished but echoes the form and preoccupation of the poems in Impossible Bottle (Louisiana State University Press, 2015). A selection of snapshots provided by Kent Ippolito is also included.   Claudia Emerson
Heart Relics, Lost Virgins, and Diving Boys: Expeditons into Devotion by Sonja Livingston     
On October 3, 2018, Sonja Livingston presented her research for a forthcoming essay collection entitled The Heart is a First-Class Relic as part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s English Faculty Forum. Livingston is the author of four essay collections. Her first collection, Ghostbread (University of Georgia Press, 2009), won an AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction.   Sonja Livingston
MFA Alumni Reading     
On February 1, 2018, MFA alumni Roselyn Elliott, Nathan Long, Emilia Phillips, and Michele Young-Stone read at the James Cabell Branch Library as part of the VCU Visiting Writers Series. Elliott read from her most recent chapbook, Ghost of the Eye (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Long read from his new book of flash fiction, The Origin of Doubt (Press 53, 2018). Phillips read from her recently published collection Empty Clip (University of Akron Press, 2018). Young-Stone read from her most recent novel, Lost in the Beehive (Simon & Schuster, 2018).   Emilia Phillips
A Reading by T. Geronimo Johnson     
On September 6, 2018, T. Geronimo Johnson read from his novel Welcome to Braggsville (HarperCollins, 2015) at the James Cabell Branch Library as part of the VCU Visiting Writers Series. He also read an excerpt from a work in progress. Johnson was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Hold It ’Til It Hurts (Coffee House Press, 2012) and was long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award for Welcome to Braggsville.   T. Geronimo Johnson
A Reading by Gregory Donovan, T.R. Hummer,
and Michele Poulos
On November 15, 2018, Gregory Donovan, T.R. Hummer, and Michele Poulos gave a reading at Chop Suey Books in Richmond, Virginia. Donovan read a selection of poems from Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press, 2015) and Calling His Children Home (University of Missouri Press, 1993). Hummer read select poems from his full-length collections as well as several new poems from a manuscript in progress. Poulos read two poems from her collection Black Laurel (Iris Press, 2016).   T.R. Hummer

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