blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1
poetry fiction nonfiction gallery features browse

A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 and 2006 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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   Spencer Reece
   Linda Bierds
   Janet Peery
   Tom Andrews
   George Ferrandi

The end is where we start from, always and inescapably, as all that we do is built on the traditions and influences of our pasts, much as we might at times wish blithely to escape them. Anyone who has pondered the logic and architecture of building anything online will become enmeshed in T. S. Eliot’s understanding that What we call the beginning is often the end / And to make an end is to make a beginning.

As Blackbird rounds out its fourth year of publication, we celebrate the Pushcart Prize won by Ellen Bryant Voigt for “The Feeder,” a poem from last fall’s issue that remains available, along with all previous content, in our Archives. With this fall’s issue of Blackbird, we welcome you to our interlinked and determined pages, invite you to explore our current and past content, and promise regular features to bring you back.

The artists and writers who have contributed striking work to this issue have also been grappling with the circularities of endings and beginnings. In Fiction, the past returns to bedevil the present in remarkable short stories by Janet Peery, Stephany Brown, and Cary Holladay.

In Poetry, Linda Bierds, whose recent book First Hand is reviewed here, has given us work about the explorer Meriwether Lewis, where the ones and zeroes of a digital future are prophesied in the ten magpies sitting on a branch: “the one and then the nothing / from which the one sets forth.” Other explorations emerge in the poems here: Dan Albergotti’s sequence revealing the story of “Days Spent in One of the Other Worlds,” Dilruba Ahmed invoking a lost memory of “the muezzin’s call,” Victoria Chang sketching the Sri Lankan boy with nine mothers who grows into knowledge that to live, a tree’s tangled roots must be cut, and Karyna McGlynn offering two elegiac confabulations whose richly inventive language hits you “like a mineral fist.”

In Nonfiction, David Wojahn returns to ideas of origins (and endings) in his engaging essay on John Berryman.

Gallery presents three plays. Daisy Foote tosses us between present and recent past, dissecting the breakdown of a family. Yasmine Rana limns a snapshot of a couple joined by a moment shared in extraordinary circumstances. And George Garrett’s text literally arrives from a past when the Ford Foundation took upon itself to create new fodder for the American theatre.

Also in Gallery, our tour through the work of twelve painters in Adaptation Syndrome raises the question of solutions for artists in a time of technological revolution: “When almost anyone can create an arresting visual image, how do painters respond?” In Superhero, Sidekick, Gaggle of Ghosts, artist George Ferrandi stakes out her own new world with its own new creatures. She gives each a name, a local habitation, and interconnected histories, affording us access to a personal mythology that is at once mysterious and unnervingly familiar.

Our yearly Levis Reading Loop and opening feature includes an essay/review of Elegy by the late Tom Andrews, and other elements, both formal and funny, designed to revive and sustain the memory of the great Larry Levis. The Eighth Annual Levis Prize winner, Spencer Reece, reads “Florida Ghazals” from his winning book, The Clerk’s Tale.

The end (of the page) is in sight, and it’s time for you to get started. Again, welcome to the scrollable, interlinked, and searchable pages of Blackbird, where you’ll find multiple paths to content through the genre and browse menus at the beginning of this page.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started . . .

Quick now, here, now, always—  

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A Reading Loop featuring poetry, essays, drawings, and audio by and about Larry Levis

You’ve found your way to the Blackbird archive, Vol. 4, No. 2. The content of this issue is archived in its entirety.

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Linda Bierds
Victoria Chang
Larry Levis

Richard Carlyon
Tom De Haven
Allison Joseph
Elizabeth McCracken
   and Ann Patchett
Spencer Reece

New awards for Blackbird
New books by Blackbird
Blackbird and LOCKSS

Rick DeMarinis
Norman Dubie
Romulus Linney