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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Readings by Erica Dawson, Juliana Gray, and Kevin Wilson  
At the 2004 Sewanee Writers' Conference in Sewanee, Tennessee, Erica Dawson, Juliana Gray, and Kevin Wilson recorded works published in Blackbird, Vol. 2 No. 2. Their readings have been added to that archived issue and also made available here.

Virginia Currents: John Newman  
This video of commentary by sculptor John Newman on his work first appeared on public television's Virginia Currents in April of 2004, producer, Mason Mills.

The video features installation shots of Newman's large-scale public work, Skyrider, in the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, Virginia. The sculpture hangs beneath Interstate 95 in a tangle of road and rail overpasses known as "the spaghetti works."

A Reading by Wesley Gibson  
In March of 2004, Wesley Gibson visited the Blackbird office to read from You Are Here: A Memoir of Arrival (Back Bay Books, 2004). Randy Marshall, reviewing You Are Here in this issue of Blackbird, writes: "Having had the pleasure of long talks with the author . . . I can assure you he is here in the pages of this book, in the voice that emanates from each argument, shaping the terse, episodic prose of his personal experience into a story based less on the ebb and flow of day to day than on the slow accumulation and rearrangement of sympathies and rituals we grasp all too imperfectly as his life (the book) sweeps us along."

Review | The Orchard, by Brigit Pegeen Kelly (BOA Editions
   Ltd., 2004)

Blackbird associate literary editor Susan Settlemyre Williams reviews The Orchard, the new poetry collection by Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Williams writes: "Where would Brigit Pegeen Kelly go? I've been pondering that question since first reading Song (BOA, 1995) several years ago. That extravagant but tightly woven, gorgeous but terrifying book seemed to represent the apogee of a particular, highly idiosyncratic poetic vision. Where could Kelly go after that? The answer, provided by her long-awaited third book, The Orchard, is 'deeper.'"

A Reading by Jon Pineda  
On June 17, 2004, Jon Pineda came to the Virginia Commonwealth University campus to read his story "Animal Control" from this issue of Blackbird. Pineda is the author of the poetry collection Birthmark (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), winner of the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition. A recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, he has new work forthcoming in Prairie Schooner and in the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (University of Illinois, 2004).

Overview, by Patrick Cribben  
Overview, a short play by Patrick Cribben, was read by Cribben and Dean Larsen at Larsen's studios in Scottsville, Virginia, on April 17, 2004. Patrick Cribben directed. Cribben's play Turnaround also appears in the Gallery section of this issue of Blackbird.

An Interview with Jon Pineda 
On June 17, 2004, Craig Beaven of Blackbird met with fiction writer and poet Jon Pineda at Virginia Commonwealth University. Pineda is the author of the short story "Animal Control," which appears in this issue of Blackbird, and of the poetry collection Birthmark. They talked about influences and about the relationship between fiction and poetry, and they discussed how Birthmark moved from unconnected poems to a Master of Fine Arts thesis to an award-winning poetry collection (Crab Orchard Award Series 2004).

Craig Beaven, a Kentucky native, holds a Master's in English from VCU and a BA in English from the University of Kentucky. His poems and reviews have appeared in ACE Magazine, Limestone, and the Lexington Herald-Leader. His interviews and book reviews have appeared in several issues of Blackbird.

Review | Florida, by Christine Schutt. (TriQuarterly Books/
   Northwestern University Press, 2003)

R. H. W. Dillard reviews Florida, the new novel by Christine Schutt. Dillard writes: "Florida is . . . an engaging book, emotionally strong, brilliantly written, word by word and page by page, and profound in its insights—into life, into memory, and into the uses of language to both capture and to free the human moment." This review also appears in the June 2004 issue of The Hollins Critic and is printed here with permission.

Published five times a year, The Hollins Critic has been a leading American literary journal since 1964. Each issue includes an essay on the work of a contemporary writer, an artist's cover portrait, poetry by poets both new and established, and brief book reviews (see Links).

A Reading by Charles Wright  
On November 5, 2003, poet Charles Wright read at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part of Poetic Principles. This series, sponsored by the Virginia Museum and New Virginia Review, Inc., brings to Richmond the best poets, writers, critics, and translators at work today. Wright read poems from recent collections and finished with several new poems.

Memory & Memoir: A Reading Loop
As we at Blackbird begin to examine the role of an archive at an online journal, we are struck by how much the stream of poems, stories, essays, and other bits that we publish resembles the remarkable river of memory and the personal narratives that we pull from it daily to signify our lives.

We hope this short "memory" loop will spur you to think once again about the immediacy in the relationship between memory and imagination, as if, as Rick Barot notes in "Psalm with a Phrase from Beckett," ". . . you are every morning the world has ever had."

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