blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1
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A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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   William Jay Smith
   Rodney Jones
   Misty Urban
   R. H. W. Dillard
   Karina Peisajovich

Creating this journal, we’ve realized its staff and contributors are a kind of extended family—and, of course, so are our readers, far-flung and numerous as they are. With great pleasure, then, we wish to celebrate one of our own, poet Claudia Emerson, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize for her volume Late Wife. Four poems from that richly deserving book appeared in our Spring 2003 issue, and we invite you to peruse them, as well as other interviews and reviews in our archives—see our right-hand menu for suggestions.

In the spring issue every year we feature an Introductions reading loop, which brings to you new members of the Blackbird literary family—writers and visual artists whose work may not yet be familiar, but which we’re betting will soon become so. Who wouldn’t want to explore an interactive sculpture online or read a poem that tells us The cow can’t fear something eternal?

An unexpected quality of our online life is our ability to maintain the connection with this family over both time and space. As we welcome the return of such longstanding friends as Richard Dillard, Elizabeth Morgan, and Margaret Gibson, we acknowledge the pleasure of their new work found here, and can further recommend new poems by John Allman, particularly one that celebrates new grandchildren. We invite you to visit their archived work from previous issues as well.

This new issue brings all manner of insightful as well as mind-warping perspectives on family—Anne Germanacos provides a new riff on an old, old story with “Adam and Eva,” a tale that examines the darker side of our archetypal DNA. R. T. Smith visits a couple firmly mired in a folk art inferno for whom no family intervention would suffice, while in Misty Urban’s “Still Life with Dog,” family provides the key to encrypted memories and pain (albeit while suffering the company of a large, shaggy canine).

Sheri Reynolds gives us a play, “Orabelle’s Wheelbarrow,” with a grandmother for all of our troubled souls, and in a prose poem of surprising mystery, Becca Barniskis details the journey of nineteenth-century missionary Henrietta Shuck, whose passion for the incorporeal overcomes her ties to family, place, and pelf.

The relationship joining all of the work here, as Jehanne Dubrow reminds us, is our “mother tongue,” the human voice. We suggest that you watch for the audio button, and when you can, listen as well as read. Join, for example, internationally known Argentinian artist Karina Peisajovich for a slide lecture in which she explains her transition from working with oil on canvas to shadow and light.

We must also note that Jeff Lodge, a stalwart, enormously valuable, and multi-talented member of our editorial family, is leaving for the Middle East to take up a teaching position in the VCU School of the Arts in Qatar. Jeff was an integral part of the original collaborative group who founded and designed Blackbird, and is responsible for the superb editing of many of our audio features, among many other accomplishments. We expect him to continue to be linked with the journal as a contributing editor.

Finally, we wish to say goodbye to beloved teacher and artist, the late Richard Carylon, who published the video Flight Song with us in our very first issue. The witty pun in his title was just one example of the irrepressible humor and intelligent creativity which was his life’s way, and which lives on in his family, his work, his students.  

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Vol. 5, No. 1. The content of this issue is archived in its entirety.

Business documents with a potentially shorter shelf life remain linked in the left menu as a matter of record, though, of course, if you are seeking up-to-date policies, submission guidelines, technical help, or contact information, you must visit our current issue at

A Reading Loop of five writers and one visual artist who demonstrate the remarkable promise and ability present in the new voices of contemporary art

Charlotte Hilary Matthews
Catherine Wing
Jake Adam York

Lorraine Adams
Rodney Jones

New awards for Blackbird
New books by Blackbird
Blackbird and LOCKSS

Claudia Emerson
Elizabeth King
Elizabeth McCracken

   and Ann Patchett