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

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


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Blackbird staff photo

(Left to right) Front row: Mary Flinn, Susan Settlemyre Williams, Gregory Donovan; Second row: Tarfia Faizullah, Anna Journey, Kate Beles, Sallie Lupton Jennings, Michele Poulos; Third row: Mary Lee Allen, Lenore Gay, Ben Dombroski, Mei Liu, Debra Schneider; Back row: Scott DuPre Mills, Meghan Foster, Bridgforth Allen, Matthew C. Crady, Amy Briggs, Jami Dittus, Michael Keller, Stephen Kovack. (Not pictured: Patrick Vickers, Jeff Lodge, Joshua Eckhardt.)

Gregory Donovan, senior editor, has won many awards for his writing, including the Robert Penn Warren Award from New England Writers (judged by Rosanna Warren), as well as grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and fellowships from the Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Donovan’s poetry collection, Calling His Children Home, won the Devins Award from University of Missouri Press, and his work has been published and anthologized widely, recently appearing in Commonwealth: Contemporary Poetry of Virginia from the University of Virginia Press. Donovan also has been writer-in-residence for the Chautauqua Institution, the VCU Glasgow Artists and Writers Workshop in Scotland, and currently for Literary and Visual Arts in the Highlands, a VCU summer program which takes writers and visual artists to Lima and Cuzco, Peru.

Mary Flinn, senior editor, has been the Director of New Virginia Review, Inc., since 1985 and is the editor, with George Garrett, of Elvis in Oz, New Writing from the Hollins College Creative Writing Program (1992). She also facilitated the editing of The Gazer Within by Larry Levis (2001), and she has served as the Poetry and Fiction editor of 64 Magazine and as editor of New Virginia Review. She has participated on editors’ panels, as a literature fellowship judge for numerous art councils, and as a review panelist for the National Endowment and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She was the first recipient of the Theresa Pollack Award for Words presented by Richmond Magazine.

M. A. Keller, senior online editor, is a technologist and writing instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English. His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, New Virginia Review, Runes, and other publications. He has taught courses in multimodal and New Media writing and has presented in the computers and writing community on issues of technology and writing pedagogy, creative and informational hypertext, and New Media.

Susan Settlemyre Williams, book review editor and associate literary editor, holds an MFA in poetry from VCU. Her poems have been published in River City, Shenandoah, Barrow Street, The Cream City Review, DIAGRAM, storySouth, and other journals. She has also published book reviews, both in Review Revue and regularly in Blackbird. Her book-length manuscript Ashes in Midair has been a finalist in several recent competitions, and one of her poems was named the winner of the 2006 Diner poetry contest. She is retired from the practice of real estate law.

Kate Beles, associate editor, is a second year MFA student in Poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was awarded the first-year Creative Writing Fellowship.  She completed her MA in English Studies at Western Washington University, where she served as a poetry editor for the Bellingham Review. Some of the journals that have published her work are Harpur Palate, Touchstone, Jeopardy Magazine, Inside Kung-Fu Magazine, and the Bellingham Review. She was recently a finalist for the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize in poetry.

Patrick Vickers, associate online editor, is currently a Ph.D. student in Media Art and Text at the Virginia Commonwealth University. He graduated in spring 2006 with an MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama. His short story The Featherless Chicken was published in the online journal Strange Horizons, fall 2005, while his poems have appeared in the journals Mid-American Review and Touchstone.

Jeff Lodge, founding and contributing editor, is the author of the novel Where This Lake Is (1997) and fiction, poetry, and essays in GSU Review, Persona, Pleiades, Squib, and other publications.  He is currently an assistant professor of English at VCUQ School of the Arts in Doha, Qatar, where he teaches writing and literature.

Anna Journey, former associate editor and current contributing editor, is an MFA student at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2005 she won the Sycamore Review Wabash Prize for Poetry and has recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in FIELD, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, Poetry Southeast, Shenandoah, the anthology Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar, 2006), and elsewhere. Her book reviews have previously appeared in Blackbird, and a critical piece on Sylvia Plath appears in Notes on Contemporary

Joshua Eckhardt, contributing gallery editor, teaches early modern English
literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is completing a study of early-seventeenth-century verse collectors and their manuscript poetry anthologies. He has published articles in Huntington Library Quarterly and Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing, forthcoming from the British Library.

Scott DuPre Mills, videographer, is a filmmaker and multimedia artist. He took his MFA in Photography and Film and teaches summer study abroad in Peru. Scott is currently a PhD student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s new Media Art and Text program.

Amy Briggs, intern, is currently completing an English degree as a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University.   She is a former music critic for The Hook.  Her latest work will be published in forthcoming issue of American Songwriter.

Matthew C. Crady, intern, holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and is currently enrolled as a first year fiction student at Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has appeared in Giles Corey Press. His short story, “Pink Slips,” was named one of ten finalists for Prism International's 2005 short fiction contest. Also in 2005, Matthew was the recipient of a University of Louisville creative writing scholarship.

Jami Dittus, intern, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University.  She completed her BA  at Sarah Lawrence College.

Ben Dombroski, intern, is a first year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Tarfia Faizullah, intern, is a first year MFA poetry student.  She received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin.  She was a finalist for the 2006 Writers at Work Fellowship Competition, and has been published in The Adirondack Review and The Daily Star. 

Meghan Foster, intern, is a second year MA in English writing and rhetoric at Virginia Commonwealth University, with a BA in English, creative writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Stephen Kovach, intern, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University.  He received his BA in English Writing from Denison University.

Mei Liu, intern, is a second-year MA student in English Literature at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Michele Poulos, intern, is a second-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed her BFA at New York University in Tisch School of the Arts. Her work has been nominated for Scribner’s Best New American Voices 2008 anthology, and she was recently awarded VCU’s David Baldacci Fiction Fellowship for 2006-2007.

Debra Schneider, intern, holds degrees from University of North Carolina and Emory University.  Her short fiction has received first place honors from the National League of American Pen Women, and has appeared in The Gihon River Review (Spring 2006).    

Bridgforth Allen, volunteer, has a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MS in Computational Linguistics from Georgetown. He is an information technologist specializing in digital media productions and has extensive experience in online publishing.

Mary Lee Allen, volunteer, is Secretary for the Center for Palladian Studies in America. She holds a Master of Humanities degree from the University of Richmond and an MA in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University and is retired from the Assistant Directorship of Gunston Hall, a historic house museum. She studies poetry writing.

Lenore Gay, volunteer, holds an MS in Sociology and an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling at VCU. The Virginia Center for Creative Arts has awarded her two writing fellowships. In 2003 Beacon Press published her essay “Mistresses of Magic” in the anthology In Praise of Our Teachers. In 2005 her story “The Hobo” won first prize in Style Weekly’s annual fiction contest.

Sallie Lupton Jennings, volunteer, studied literature at Antioch College and has an MA in Psychology from New School for Social Research. Retired from vocational rehabilitation counseling and photography, she studied playwriting with William Packard at HB Studios in New York and won a one-act play contest with a staged reading at the Barksdale Theater in Richmond, Virginia, in 2002. She recently published her first poems in the Quaker journal, What Canst Thou Say?

Special thanks

  • to Kate Beles for pulling all of our efforts together.
  • to Susan Settlemyre Williams for her work across the board and for our expanded book review efforts.
  • to Patrick Vickers, Stephen Kovach, Matt Crady, and Amy Briggs for page builds and lots of last minute corrections and site tweaks--especially to Matt and Amy for the witching hour push. Staying until 4am no less!
  • to Michele Poulos for help with the nonfiction build.
  • to Debbie Schnieder for her work in coordinating publicity efforts, and to her team, Mei Liu, Ben Dombroski, Meghan Foster, and Amy Briggs, for their publicity efforts.
  • Meghan Foster for her efforts in expanding our connections in online communities and resources, including our experiments with a MySpace page.
  • to Amy Briggs for helping to coordinate the Sylvia Plath reading at Chop Suey Books.
  • Stephen Kovach for his help in tracking and capturing audio content in the arts.
  • Scott DuPre Mills for his video work (forthcoming in future issues).
  • Patrick Vickers again for his audio captures and editing work, as well as for his general technological support, advice, and planning.
  • Tarfia Faizullah for her work transcribing Farhad Moshiri's audio lecture, and for her work in gathering materials for Blackbird's style and production manual.
  • to all our volunteers and interns for their contributions in reading, scanning, tracking, data entry, and so much more.
  • to Leslie Shiel and Jordan Keller.
  • to Jeff Lodge, who has the Blackbird production style book safely in his head—on the other side of the world—and still answers email, and will set us to rights if we've done something a little wrong.
  • and a toast to Anna Journey and Sylvia Plath