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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An Interview with Erin Lambert
In June of 2003, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan met with poet Erin Lambert in the Blackbird editorial office in Richmond, Virginia. They spoke of the influence of the spiritual on Lambert's poems in this issue of Blackbird, but they spoke as well of writing, revision, and inspiration, and of the ways in which one may come to find one's own voice.

Oh Lucy, by Chris Burnside
In September of 2003, Chris Burnside presented his first full-length Richmond dance concert in over a decade. The concert, titled simply "An Evening of Dance," featured six works, two of them premieres, with sixteen dancers. In appreciation of his career and his contribution to dance, Blackbird offers streaming video of Burnside's 1990 movement and spoken-word performance, Oh Lucy.

A Conversation between R. H. W. Dillard and Julia Johnson
In July, 2003, R. H. W. Dillard and Julia Johnson sat down together for an informal conversation in Roanoke, Virginia. Their subjects ranged from "literary heroes" and influences, to the differences between poetry and short fiction, to "last meals" and NASCAR.

Panel Discussion: The "Radically Local" in the Work of Sheila Pepe
This conversation with artist Sheila Pepe took place January 15, 2003, at the Grace Street Theater in Richmond, Virginia. Pepe comments on her work and process from "lap to gallery" in light of the idea of the radically local. Panelists and audience members provide additional commentary and questions. Special thanks to Myron Helfgott, chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Sculpture; Howard Risatti, chair of the VCU Department of Crafts; and Dinah Ryan, an art critic and contributing editor of Art Papers magazine, for their participation in the program.

A Reading by Cornelius Eady
On December 4, 2002, poet Cornelius Eady gave a reading at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond as part of Poetic Principles, a series sponsored by the Virginia Museum and New Virginia Review, Inc., that brings to the Richmond area the best poets, writers, critics, and translators at work today. Eady read poetry from the past and present (including the three poems in the current issue of Blackbird), as well as nonfiction from an unpublished work-in-progress.

A Reading by Joshua Poteat
In May of 2003, Joshua Poteat came to the Virginia Commonwealth University campus to read the seven poems published in this issue of Blackbird. Poteat graduated from the VCU MFA Program in Creative Writing in 1997 and since that time has won awards from American Literary Review, Nebraska Review, Marlboro Review, Columbia, Bellingham Review, Yemassee, Lullwater Review, and Universities West Press. In 2001 he was the Summer Writer-in-Residence at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center.

Review | Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories from a Decade Gone Mad
                  by Virginia Holman (Simon & Shuster, 2003)

Susan Garrett, author of Miles to Go: Aging in Rural Virginia and Taking Care of Our Own: A Year in the Life of a Small Hospital, reviews here Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories from a Decade Gone Mad, the new memoir by Virginia Holman. Garrett writes: "Virginia Holman has set her memory box down on a solid floor, opened it and sorted the pieces bit by bit into a beautifully crafted work of art, a mosaic of her own remembered images placed among those recalled later by her father and sister. . . ." In addition, Holman reads a portion of the book, reprinted here with the kind permission of Simon & Shuster.

Sheila Pepe's Under the F & G
   A Film by David and Michael Beasley

As Sheila Pepe installed Under the F & G at the Hand Workshop Art Center in January, 2003, she allowed Richmond filmmakers David and Michael Beasley to document her efforts as she removed ceiling panels, tied and crocheted shoelaces, and made decisions about the gallery as a drawing space. Justin Brown, a senior student in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Sculpture, served as the interlocutor for the film, asking the questions that prompted Pepe's explanations of her process and intentions.

Becky Hagenston, Julia Johnson, Erin Lambert, Miguel Murphy, and Joshua Poteat are most likely not yet authors with whom you are familiar. We at Blackbird, however, believe that you should become acquainted with their work and what they have to say. These five writers demonstrate the remarkable promise and ability that are present in the new voices of American letters. . . .

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