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

(Left to right) Front row: Mary Flinn, Susan Settlemyre Williams, Kate Beles, Gregory Donovan; Second row: Sallie Lupton Jennings, Anna Journey, Mei Liu, Juliette Highland; Third row: Toni Gardiner, Bojana Comprone, Tarfia Faizullah; Fourth row: Liz Gerber, Ty Williams; Back row: Bridgforth Allen, Patrick Scott Vickers, Matthew C. Crady, Scott DuPre Mills. (Not pictured: Joshua Ekhardt, Meghan Foster, Lenore Gay, M.A. Keller, Juan Leon, Jeff Lodge, Catherine McDonald,)

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 advanced writing, poetry workshops, and courses in hypertext and New Media writing. His work currently centers on electronic writing and electronic publication, issues of materiality and multimodal writing, and the question of defining, supporting, and teaching "New Media."

Susan Settlemyre Williams, Blackbird book review editor and associate literary editor, is the author of a chapbook, Possession (Finishing Line, 2007). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Mississippi Review, Shenandoah, 42opus, Sycamore Review, the Marlboro Review, and other journals. Her book-length manuscript Ashes in Midair has been a runner-up or finalist in several recent competitions, and one of her poems won the 2006 Diner poetry contest and was selected for Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar, 2006). She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

Kate Beles, associate editor, is an MFA student in Poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was awarded the first-year Creative Writing Fellowship. She completed her MA 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, Inside Kung-Fu Magazine and the Bellingham Review. She was recently nominated for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and the AWP Intro Awards in Creative Nonfiction. She received an honorable mention for the Graduate Creative Nonfiction Award and was 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.

Matthew C. Crady, assistant online editor, holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and is currently enrolled as a first year fiction student at Virginia Commonwealth University. His story, “Skittles, Cigarettes, and Four Years In Between,” 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.

Jeff Lodge, founding and contributing editor, is the author of the novel Where This Lake Is (1997) and, with John A, Brown, A Prayer for Foxes and Hens (forthcoming).  He has published fiction, poetry, and essays in GSU Review, Persona, Pleiades, Squib, and other publications, and has written dozens of book reviews for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly. 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.

Tarfia Faizullah, intern, is a first-year MFA poetry student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, her poem, “Ramadan Aubade,” was an AWP Intro Journals Award winner, and is forthcoming in Mid-American Review; and her poem “Mending Time” received an Honorable Mention from the VCU Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize. She was a 2006 Writers at Work Fellowship Competition finalist. Her other poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review and The Daily Star.

Mei Liu, intern, is a second-year MA student in English Literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is going to earn her MA in May, 2007.

Bojana Comprone, intern, is a first year MA student in English Literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed her BA in English at Saint Paul’s College as Summa Cum Laude and was a Valedictorian for 2006. She was a recipient of the Andrew Mellon Foundation scholarship at Sewanee: the University of the South for the second Writing Symposium on the topic of “The South.”

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

Catherine MacDonald, intern, is a third-year MFA student at Virginia  Commonwealth University. Her poems have been published in Washington
Square, The Cortland Review, and the forthcoming anthology Letters to the World from Red Hen Press.

Liz Gerber, intern, is a senior English major attending the University of Mary Washington. This year she is co-Editor-in-Chief of UMW’s literary magazine, Aubade, and she is also one of the editors of an experimental online literary journal that is part of a new class taught by Claudia Emerson at UMW.

Juan Leon, intern, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is majoring in English and Philosophy.

Kathryn Dick, intern, is a second-year MA student in Writing and Rhetoric at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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

Meghan Foster, manager of Blackbird's MySpace page, and coordinator of our Wikipedia presence, 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. 

Bridgforth Allen, technology advisor, 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, reader and copyeditor, 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, reader and copyeditor, 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, reader and copyeditor, 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 from M.A. Keller, senior online editor

  • to Greg Donovan and Mary Flinn for all they did to put together our—can you believe it—eleventh issue.
  • to Kate Beles for coordinating literary editors, readers, interns, and online production editors, and for her continuing vigilance and enthusiasm.
  • to Susan Williams for her continuing dilligence as a literary, book review, and bio editor.
  • to Matt Crady for doing most of the page building (along with lots of conversion and copyediting) for this issue, for taking the lead on guiding and educating interns in production, and for playing good music during build sessions.
  • to Patrick Vickers again for audio captures and editing work, treatment of all the contributor photos, as well as for his general and wise technological support, advice, and planning.
  • to Tarfia Faizullah for her work with last minute transcriptions and her availability in helping with any number of tasks.
  • to all our readers and interns for their contributions in reading, copy editing, scanning, tracking, transcribing, converting, entering data, and so much more.
  • to Meghan Foster for her efforts in expanding our connections in online communities and resources, including our experiments with a MySpace page.
  • to Stephen Kovach for his help in tracking and capturing audio content.
  • to Mei Liu for research around publishing software, sites, and Blackbird News.
  • to Josh Eckhardt for his work in commissioning Kevin Hamilton's work for this issue.
  • to Jeff Lodge for his work on Camille Zakharia's Elusive Homelands and for audio editing of Robert D. Richardson and Stephen Westfall, and for all his continuing support as a contributing editor from the other side of the world.
  • to Leslie, Jordan, Joan, and Chuck.