blackbirdonline journalSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
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Founded in 2001 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2021 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068


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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 Alli Cruz, Nicholas Cardell Gore, Romie Hernández Morgan, and Jessica Tanck; fiction writers Katarzyna Jakubiak and Stephen O’Donnell; and essayist Andrew Koch. These authors are at the start of promising careers and offer an excellent entryway into our contemporary literary landscape.   Katarzyna Jakubiak
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: an unanswerable question, a collective story, or an urge to impose order upon chaos. In this issue Alli Cruz, Katarzyna Jakubiak, Andrew Koch, Romie Hernández Morgan, Stephen O’Donnell, and Jessica Tanck, continue the tradition in “Tracking the Muse.”   Alli Cruz
Managing Remotely: Blackbird in Pandemic    
“It’s a strange kind of collective memory that gets left behind in objects, at once physical and inaccessible.” In this essay, Hayley Graffunder reflects on her year as managing editor during the pandemic, including what working for Blackbird was like before COVID and the experience of being in the Blackbird office for the first real length of time since her tele-work tenure began. Graffunder also offers several photographs from the office in VCU’s historic Anderson House.   Hayley Graffunder
Cabell First Novelist Award Reading Loop  video icon
On October 15th, 2020, John Englehardt received the 2020 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for his novel Bloomland (Dzanc Books, 2019). Included in the reading loop is an excerpt from the novel, as well as captioned videos of Englehardt’s virtual reading and the Q&A discussion that followed, featuring questions by the Virginia Commonwealth University community. Blackbird’s review of Bloomland by Michelle Goshen is also included.   John Englehardt
Claudia Emerson Reading Loop
The sixth annual Claudia Emerson Reading Loop features Emerson’s poem “Sewing Bird” and her friendship and collaboration with artist Carole Garmon. Included are a short history of sewing birds, an interview with Garmon, and variations of the poem, one a handwritten copy exhibited with Garmon’s sculpture, another as it appears in Emerson's 2008 Figure Studies. Three snapshots from the summer of 2013 complete the loop.   Claudia Emerson
A Reading by Kiki Petrosino from White Blood  
On November 12, 2020, poet Kiki Petrosino read from her most recent collection, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, winner of the 2021 University of North Texas Rilke Prize. She read virtually as a part of VCU’s Visiting Writers Series. David Wojahn states she “addresses on levels both personal and public some of the most fraught subjects of our time: race, the legacy of slavery, cultural memory, and the deeply divided nature of America at this particular moment.”   Kiki Petrosino

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