blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Becky Hagenston, Julia Johnson, Miguel Murphy, Joshua Poteat, and Erin Lambert 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. They are also joined in this issue by a number of other writers whose work is just beginning to reach us in print and online. And what wonderful work it is!

Becky Hagenston
Becky Hagenston's poised and evanescent second-person story, "How to Keep Busy While Your Fiancé Climbs Mount Everest," listens in on a lover's distraught mind. The unnamed narrator effectively voices her nervous worry in her direct address while Hagenston simultaneously uses this immediacy and the short sentences that serve it to show how tenuously the narrator holds her fears at bay. She makes a strong case for the deep cleansing breath.

Julia Johnson
"The Shower Wall" is the first published fiction by poet Julia Johnson. The story shares with her poems a lush connection to language and a vivid use of imagery and detail. Also like her poems, the story requires that you pay vigilant attention as you move from word to word and from sentence to sentence. If you follow her carefully, you will find that you are able to some degree to enter the pain her narrator is experiencing as the words and the things they stand for disintegrate under her and your eyes.

Miguel Murphy
It should be obvious as a central interest in all writing, especially poetry, yet so many have forgotten that it comes nearly as a surprise to encounter the power of an individual word, in its sound and its history, as a doorway that opens a world. Miguel Murphy's work features prescient word choice together with attention to the music of words as ways to hold in memory the strong emotions unleashed in a troubled family, offering those words as an enduring source of pain and delight, because, as his poem "Necromancy" asserts, "nothing music summons ever dies."

Joshua Poteat
With natural elegance and untiring invention, Joshua Poteat writes some of the most remarkable poetry you are ever likely to encounter. In storylines that move beyond the virtues of narrative into a region of wonder, combining violence and tenderness in an intimate voice capable of revelations as swift and sudden as the sear of lighting, his poems work themselves into the cloudy fabric of your imagination and reside there as unforgettable experiences.

Erin Lambert
Realizing that "all gods are killers without fault," Erin Lambert brings a unique combination of courage and imagination to her spiritual meditations, resulting in speculations that force open the windows of perception to achieve poems that forge beyond raw astonishment into ripe understanding.  


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