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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Blackbird: A Preview of Coming Attractions
Mary Flinn, Blackbird editor-in-chief for Vol. 2, No.1, previews the coming issue: "As we prepare to publish Blackbird, Volume 2, Number 1, and I read through the stories, poems, lectures, and art that we have collected, I am struck by the odd felicities, synchronicities, or just plain coincidences that permeate the work. . . ."

An Email Exchange with Richard McCann
In late March, 2003, Richard McCann discussed, informally and via email, some of his current work with Blackbird editor Mary Flinn. Their conversation centered primarily on the personal in poetry, and on the personal in writing in general.

An Interview with Douglas Jones  
In February of 2003, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with playwright Douglas Jones in the Blackbird editorial office at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Jones spoke about the origins of Songs from Bedlam (see our current Gallery section), about his own beginnings, and about the state of local and regional theater today.

An Interview with Myron Helfgott  
In January of 2003, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with sculptor Myron Helfgott in the Blackbird editorial office at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Helfgott spoke of his use of time, sound, and motion in his recent work, and of his influences from the fields of art, architecture, and literature.

An Interview with Lynn Emanuel  
On November 22, 2002, Blackbird correspondent Mathias Svalina met with poet Lynn Emanuel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their conversation revolved around the ways writers are influenced, including the influences on Emanuel's own work—noir film and fiction, Gertrude Stein, Italo Calvino.

"the news from poems . . ."
Blackbird marks the cancellation of the February 12, 2003, Poetry Symposium by the White House with quotations and poetry from Dickinson, Hughes, Levine, Lorde, Whitman, and Williams on the nature of poetry, on the nature of war, and on the nature of the poet's responsibility to speak to the state of the world.

An Interview with Steve Scafidi  
On September 28, 2002, Blackbird correspondent Leslie Shiel met with poet Steve Scafidi, winner of the Fifth Annual Levis Reading Prize, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. They spoke at length about the making of Scafidi's first book, Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, and about the role of life in poetry and the role of poetry in life.

An Interview with Ron Smith  
In December of 2002, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with poet Ron Smith in the Blackbird editorial office at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Smith spoke about the role that travel plays and has played in poetry and literature. Smith's poem "Greece" is included in this issue of Blackbird.

An Interview with Claudia Emerson  
In November of 2002, Blackbird assistant managing editor Susan Settlemyre Williams met with poet Claudia Emerson in Emerson's office at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Emerson spoke about her latest poetry collection, Pinion: An Elegy (reviewed in this issue of Blackbird), about her current and future projects, and about the making of a poetry collection.

An Interview with Mark Jarman  
In July of 2002, Blackbird editor Mary Flinn met with poet and essayist Mark Jarman at the 13th Annual Sewanee Writers' Conference, held at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Jarman spoke about his essay "Happiness: The Aesthetics of Donald Justice" (included in this issue of Blackbird) and about Justice's influence as both a writer and a teacher.

Fifth Annual Levis Prize Reading  
On September 27, 2002, the Department of English and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the awarding of the Fifth Annual Levis Reading Prize. Marcel Cornis-Pope, Department Chair, introduced the event. Gregory Donovan then introduced Steve Scafidi, who read from his winning book Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer (Louisiana State University Press, 2001.) Scafidi also read one new work, "To One Who Lingers in the Trees," which—in tandem with the publication of the reading—we have added to the poetry section of this issue of Blackbird.

Larry Levis Remembered  
In conjunction with the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Blackbird is pleased to remember the poet Larry Levis and to publish poems by this year's Levis Reading Prize winner, Steve Scafidi. You will also find Levis's "Caravaggio: Swirl & Vortex" and a 1996 recording of Levis reading this poem, Levis's essay "Bell's Tavern," Randy Marshall's remembrance of Levis as a friend and teacher, and a call for your letters and responses to Levis's life and work.  

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