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 Rick Barot
On January 25, 2004, Craig Beaven of Blackbird met with poet Rick Barot, author of the collection The Darker Fall, at Barot's office at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. They discussed the making of poems and of poetry collections as well as the creative process in general.

A Glossary for Norman Dubie's The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake
As we complete the serial publication of Norman Dubie's epic poem, The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake, we include this glossary to help readers better understand the vocabulary of the world of Tibetan Buddhism that is the poem's milieu. The glossary was compiled by Susan Settlemyre Williams, Blackbird associate literary editor, and approved by Norman Dubie.

An Interview with Samuel R. Delany
In September of 2003, critic and science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany visited Virginia Commonwealth University and neighboring Virginia Union University, reading from his fiction and nonfiction and delivering a lecture titled "The History of the Word 'Queer.'" He met with Marcel Cornis-Pope, chair of the Department of English at VCU, and Nathan Long, assistant professor of English at VUU, to talk about poetics, race, gender, queer studies, and contemporary literary theory.

An Interview with T. R. Hummer
In October of 2003, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan met with poet T. R. Hummer in Donovan's office on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. A talk about music and poetry turned into a lengthy discussion of jazz, bluegrass, blues, and bebop, and especially the culture that forms the background for Hummer's "For Dancers Only: Suite for Jimmie Lunceford, 1902-1947" (published in text and audio in this issue of Blackbird) and for The Infinity Sessions, the work-in-progress of which "Dancers" is a part.

Readings by Colleen Curran and Patricia Wagner
In January of 2004, Colleen Curran and Patricia Wagner came to the Virginia Commonwealth University campus to read their stories from this issue of Blackbird. Curran's fiction has appeared in JANE, Richmond Magazine, Meridian, and the anthology The Dictionary of Failed Relationships: 26 Stories of Love Gone Wrong (Three Rivers, 2003). Her first novel, We Are Young and Out for Glory, is forthcoming from Vintage. "My Things" is Wagner's first published fiction.

An Interview with Susan Aizenberg
In October of 2003, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan and poet David Wojahn, both of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English, met with Susan Aizenberg, winner of the Sixth Annual Levis Reading Prize, at VCU. They talked about Muse, Aizenberg's prize-winning poetry collection, about influences, about trends, and more.

An Interview with Isabel Zuber
On October 3, 2003, Patty Smith of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English met with writer Isabel Zuber on the VCU campus. Zuber was in Richmond to receive the second VCU First Novelist Award for her novel Salt, published by Picador in 2002. Their conversation focused primarily on Salt, its origins, its structure, its setting, and its characters.

Sixth Annual Levis Prize Reading
On October 15, 2003, the Department of English and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the awarding of the Sixth Annual Levis Reading Prize. Marcel Cornis-Pope, Department Chair, introduced the event. Gregory Donovan then introduced Susan Aizenberg, who read from her winning book Muse (Southern Illinois University Press, 2002).

Sisyphus and Other Artifices:
A Review of Stephen Dunn's Local Visitations (W.W. Norton, 2003)

Poet and critic Ron Smith (Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery) discusses Local Visitations, the twelfth collection by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn: "When we think of all the blunt blundering, all the inept evasiveness that constitutes thinking in our public and private discourse in twenty-first century America, how wonderful it is to have poems like Stephen Dunn's delicate, measured examinations and fittings-together, the work of a jeweler or a watchmaker. Or a neurosurgeon."

Larry Levis Remembered
In conjunction with the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Blackbird remembers the poet Larry Levis and features poems by this year's Levis Reading Prize winner, Susan Aizenberg.

You will also find Levis's "Elegy with a Thimbleful of Water in the Cage" and streaming audio and video of Levis reading it, a previously unpublished Levis poem, "The Space," Dave Smith's essay "Larry Levis: Johnny Dominguez, A Letter," drawings by artist David Freed, and—forthcoming—an audio recording of the Sixth Annual Levis Prize Reading and an interview with Susan Aizenberg.

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