blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1
poetry fiction nonfiction gallery features browse

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

Copyright © 2002 and 2003 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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For our second issue of Blackbird we received a startling range of innovative work, particularly in poetry, from the formal, complex, and tightly controlled to the speculative and wild.

  Larry Levis
Self-Portrait Project
Christine Schutt

Many of the poems seem to focus on travel of one kind or another—at times from one sort of world to another. Here are widely recognized poets at their best, including Stanley Plumly, Lynn Emanuel, Terese Svoboda, Henry Hart, and Eric Pankey, as well as poets whose work we recommend for your greater familiarity, if you don't already know them well, Clara Silverstein, Richard McCann, and Victoria Redel among many others—and to our very good fortune we can offer the first part of an astonishing Buddhist-inspired, futurist epic by Norman Dubie, The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake. Dubie has been so very well known for entering the minds of persons from the past that here it is fascinating to watch him venturing in time's opposite, even more volatile, direction.

The fiction submitted was no less varied or sublimely deft of craft, from the cautionary tale, "Desperado," by Rick DeMarinis to the postmodern explorations of Leon Rooke and Christine Schutt. Nonfiction for this issue features literary essays: Mark Jarman writing on Donald Justice; Leonard Rogoff on Louis D. Rubin, Jr.; and more; and introduces a previously unpublished prose work, "Bell's Tavern," by the late Larry Levis. You will also be able to follow a cyber trail of sorts that connects the winner of the 2002 Levis Reading Prize, Steve Scafidi, to Levis's work as examined in an essay by Randy Marshall, and to an audio recording of Larry Levis reading his masterful poem, "Caravaggio: Swirl & Vortex."

Our Gallery offers the performance of excerpts from playwright Douglas Jones's Songs from Bedlam, as well as an exhibition of recorded texts and images by sculptor Myron Helfgott and a video work-in-progress by Song-yi Kim. The spoken word and moving image. Here are evidenced the greater and more pleasing freedoms gained by presenting an electronically realized journal. All in all, a selection of work that we hope will feed your interest in the artists presented and whose voices we are sure will sing their own songs in your memory. We welcome you to Blackbird, online, issue number 2.  

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By chance or choice, you've found your way to the Blackbird archive, Vol. 1, No. 2.

The content of this issue is archived in its entirety.

Business documents with a potentially shorter shelf life remain linked in the left menu as a matter of record, though, of course, if you are seeking policy, submission guidelines, technical help, or contact information, you must do so by visiting our current issue at

This evening a low roll of thunder and occasional flares of lightning remind us the world this spring is unsettled. It is a time we think our audience, more than ever, turns to writers and artists for the kind of guidance only those who constantly probe the human condition can offer. We hope you'll continue to find such guidance here.

We are still learning the strengths and possibilities of this medium and are working to grow with it. At core, however, look here, and to future issues, for the quality writing that we have promised from our first breath, for exciting documentations of work in the visual arts, and for continuing, and often one-of-a-kind, audio and video presentations of the performing arts.

In addition to bringing you the best publication we can, we are working to educate a new generation of readers and viewers of literature and the arts. As we continue efforts to extend our educational outreach, we invite you to pass along our URL to young readers, and to friends and colleagues who teach, reminding them that Blackbird, as always, is free.

Please help us spread the word.

--the managing editors,
midnight, April 30, 2003