blackbirdonline journalSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
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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 © 2023 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 Colin Bailes, Hayley Graffunder, Danielle Kotrla, Rebecca Poynor, Waverley Vesely, and Brandon Young. These authors, all former and current Blackbird graduate student editors, are at the start of promising careers and offer an excellent entryway into our contemporary literary landscape.   Caitlin Wilson
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: human perception, memory, a search for meaning, or the role of place. In this issue Colin Bailes, Hayley Graffunder, Danielle Kotrla, Rebecca Poynor, Waverley Vesely, Caitlin Wilson, and Brandon Young continue the tradition in Tracking the Muse.   Brandon Young
Claudia Emerson Reading Loop      
The eighth annual Claudia Emerson Reading Loop features Emerson’s poems “Piano Fire” and “Stringed Instrument Collection.” Poet A.E. Stallings directs us through a close reading of “Stringed Instrument Collection,” and “Piano Fire” gives us a different encounter with strings and their connection to small-town memory. Brad Efford, Emerson’s former student, presents his memories of her as teacher and mentor through an encounter with singer Lucinda Williams.   Claudia Emerson
Artificial Bodies Reading Loop    
Czech author Karel Čapek envisioned mass production of organic robots in his play R.U.R.(1920); his brother Josef cataloged a variety of mechanical, organic, cyborgian, and conceptual beings in Artificial Man (1924), translated here by AI. Isaac Lee, writing on reading during lockdown, discovers an essay from the first issue of Blackbird about a seventeenth-century automota. We also offer an ecclectic collection of “artificial bodies” and a link to R.U.R. in v21n2.   Robot illustration from Josef Čapek’s “Artificial Man”
Jesse Lee Kercheval Reading Loop      
This issue celebrates writer Jesse Lee Kercheval with the Jesse Lee Kercheval Reading Loop. In this loop appear two prose poems by Kercheval, “Xylophone” and “Zephyr.” Alongside these poems is a nonfiction essay, “Sharp.” To close out the loop is an email correspondence with Blackbird’s lead pagebuilder, Danielle Kotrla, where themes including translation, human connection, drawing, and textual form are discussed.   Jesse Lee Kercheval
Steve Scafidi Reading Loop      
Scafidi’s three Lincoln manuscripts of some 300 poems, most unpublished, are the chief subject here. We lead with “The Junebugs,” a poem animated by Oddfellows, and follow with a selection of unpublished poems. In a transcribed conversation, Scafidi discusses the project and his writing process; he reads four additional, unpublished poems in an embedded video. Brad Efford’s essay about Claudia Emerson, in which Scafidi makes essential appearances, closes the loop.   Steve Scafidi
Corey Van Landingham Reading Loop      
In this issue, we celebrate the poet Corey Van Landingham with the Corey Van Landingham Reading Loop. Featured here are five poems from Van Landingham, including “Blood Moon,” “A Certain Epicharis,“ “Hypotactic,” and others. A review by Blackbird managing editor emerita Rebecca Poynor of Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens also appears in this loop, as well as an email correspondence between Van Landingham and managing editor Waverley Vesely.   Corey Van Landingham

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