blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.


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Sean Tubbs of Studio Virginia Interviews Blackbird Editors
In May of 2002, Sean Tubbs, host of Studio Virginia at WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, interviewed Blackbird editors Gregory Donovan and Mary Flinn. This audio interview aired on WVTF on May 4, 2002, soon after Blackbird's online debut. As we prepare to archive this first issue of Blackbird, we think it fitting to recall our genesis and are pleased to present, as streaming audio, Studio Virginia's generous introduction to our then-new journal.  

An Email Conversation with Beckian Fritz Goldberg
In September, 2002, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan corresponded via email with poet Beckian Fritz Goldberg. Their online conversation focused primarily on Beckian's experimentation with the prose poem. In addition to announcing an in-process book of prose poems, Egypt in Space, Beckian discusses the form's practicioners and history, the loss of the line, the role of narrative, and her creative process.

Stop-Action Animation by Elizabeth King and Richard Kizu-Blair
In 1991, Elizabeth King, collaborating with director Richard Kizu-Blair, made a stop-action animation of her sculpture "Pupil," a small, life-like animated figure. Though the sculpture was not created for animation, King writes "unwittingly, I had been making an ideal film animation model. The calculated tension of its joints made incremental position changes easy—at the touch of your finger—and the size and weight of the figure were small enough to permit ready leverage and extension against gravity." King here introduces the piece, which is available for the first time on the Web in streaming video.

An Interview with Richard Carlyon
In August of 2002, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with artist Richard Carlyon in the Blackbird editorial office on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Their discussion ranged from the origin of Flight Song and the influence of John Cage, to the use of video in art, to the state of art as we move into the twenty-first century, and more.

An Interview with Romulus Linney
In July of 2002, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with playwright Romulus Linney at the 13th Annual Sewanee Writers' Conference, held at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Linney spoke about his life and work as a playwright, about the origin and evolution of specific works, and about other playwrights at work today.

An Interview with Hal Crowther
On Sunday morning, April 28, 2002, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan met with Hal Crowther, sitting on the porch of the cabin Crowther owns with his wife, the novelist Lee Smith, in the mountains of North Carolina. They spoke about H. L. Mencken, about contemporary American culture and criticism, about writing in general, and more.

An Interview with Carrie Brown
On May 8, 2002, Jamye Shelleby of Blackbird met with Carrie Brown at The Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. Brown spoke about the differences and similarities between writing the short story and writing the novel, the relationship between journalism and fiction, her own beginnings as a writer, and more.

An Interview with George Garrett
On March 14, 2002, Susan Settlemyre Williams of Blackbird met with George Garrett at Garrett's home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their discussion focused on the writing of fiction, both Garrett's and others, and concluded with some insightful comments on the teaching of writing in a formal setting.

A Reading by Margaret Gibson 
Margaret Gibson reads the four poems published in this issue of Blackbird and speaks about the Japanese art that inspired her to write them. The poems will be included in the collection Autumn Grasses, to be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2003. The reading was recorded in Richmond, Virginia, in December of 2001.

An Interview with Eleanor Ross Taylor
On March 14, 2002, Susan Settlemyre Williams of Blackbird met with poet Eleanor Ross Taylor in Taylor's home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their discussion ranged from Taylor's early life as a poet, her marriage to Pulitzer-Prize-winning fiction writer Peter Taylor, her literary friendships with Randall Jarrell, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and others, to her views on the work of today's poets and her own evolution as a writer.

An Interview with Gregory Donovan
Gregory Donovan is editor-in-chief of Blackbird, Vol. 1, No. 1. In this interview with Blackbird managing online editor Jeff Lodge, he speaks about the genesis of Blackbird, about the possibilities of online journals, and about ways readers can approach Blackbird itself.

An Interview with Henry Taylor
On February 13, 2002, Mathias Svalina of Blackbird met with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor in Taylor's office at American University in Washington, D.C. Their discussion touched on humor in poetry, Brother Dave Gardner, writing, teaching, and other literary matters.

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