blackbirdonline journalFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
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Founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2016 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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EDITORIAL STAFF

Blackbird Editorial Staff, Fall 2017 photo by Jonathan Figaro

(Left to right) First Row: Mary Flinn, Randy Marshall, Jonathan Figaro, Brandie Gray, Sonja Livingston; Second Row: Angela Benitez, Jennifer Miller, Victoria Morrisette; Third Row: Katie Brooks, Meghan Hannifin; Fourth Row: Ciera Higginbotham, Hannah Truslow, Simone Plater, Farrah Fox, Elizabeth Farschon; Fifth Row: AJ White, Elijah Zimmerman, Fernando Lazada Coro, Scott Selden; Sixth Row: Victoria C. Flanagan, M.A. Keller.

spacer Lead Associate Editors
  Brandie Gray 2017–2018
  Victoria C. Flanagan 2016–2017
  Jake Branigan 2015–2016
  Chelsea Gillenwater 2014–2015
  Leia Darwish 2013–2014
  Lena Moses-Schmitt 2012–2013
  Ross Losapio 2011–2012
  Emilia Phillips 2010–2011
  Grant White 2009–2010
  Matthew Baker 2008–2009
  Tarfia Faizullah 2007–2008
  Kate Beles 2006–2007
  Anna Journey 2005–2006
  Steven Collis 2004–2005
  Maria Hagan 2003–2004
  Tara Moyle    2002–2003
  Jamye Shelleby 2001–2002

Blackbird, founded in 2002 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and the former New Virginia Review, Inc., benefits from the contributions of graduate and undergraduate student interns, as well as from MA and MFA Graduate Assistants from the VCU Department of English. Students from the interdisciplinary PhD program in Media, Art, and Text (MATX) have also worked with us in past years, as have community volunteers and MFA alumni. We are grateful for everyone's contributions.

Each year, Blackbird awards the coveted lead associate editor position to a second–year VCU MFA graduate student; to qualify, the student must already have been awarded a graduate fellowship and must have worked as an intern for the journal. The lead associate editor staffs the Blackbird office in the historic Anderson House, and is at the center of all the journal’s activities, working to coordinate communication between literary and production editors, as well as between the editors and contributors.


Staff listings are by categories.


EDITORS
Gregory Donovan
, senior editor, is the author of the poetry collections Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press, 2015), long-listed for the Julie Suk Award, and Calling His Children Home (University of Missouri Press, 1993), which won the Devins Award for Poetry. His poetry, essays, translations, and fiction have been published in The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, TriQuarterly, diode, Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Gulf Coast, Copper Nickel, and many other journals. His work has also appeared in several anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2003). Among other awards for his writing, he is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Award from New England Writers 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 has served as a visiting writer and guest faculty for a number of summer conferences and low-residency programs, such as the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Center, the River Pretty Writers Retreat, the VCFA Postgraduate Writers’ Conference, and The University of Tampa MFA program. With the writer/director Michele Poulos, he is a producer of A Late Style of Fire, the feature-length documentary on the life and work of the late Larry Levis. Donovan is a founding faculty member of Virginia Commonwealth University’s graduate creative writing program.

Mary Flinn, senior editor, began her tenure as the director of New Virgina Review, Inc. in 1985. She is the coeditor, with George Garrett, of Elvis in Oz: New Stories and Poems from the Hollins Creative Writing Program (University of Virginia Press, 1992) and facilitated the editing of The Gazer Within (University of Michigan Press, 2001), a collection of essays by Larry Levis. Flinn served as the poetry and fiction editor of 64 and the editor of New Virginia Review. She has participated on numerous editors’ panels, served as a judge for literature fellowships from various arts councils, and been a review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Flinn won the inaugural Theresa Pollak Award for Words from Richmond Magazine, and Style Weekly recognized her as one of their 2016 Richmond Women in the Arts.

M.A. Keller, senior online editor, is a technologist, web coordinator, and writing instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English. His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, New Virginia Review, Runes, and elsewhere. Keller is the author of a chapter, “Meghan Sapnar’s ‘Car Wash’ as a New Media Sonnet,” in RAW (Reading and Writing) New Media (Hampton Press, 2010). His work centers on electronic writing, issues of materiality and multimodal writing, and how to define, support, and teach online publishing and new media. He has taught poetry and advanced writing workshops, as well as courses in hypertext and new media. He publishes the visual blog Abaculi and is the editor of The Abaculi Project. Keller earned an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Randy Marshall, senior literary editor and photo editor, edited, along with Mary Flinn, Andrew Miller, and John Venable, The Gazer Within (University of Michigan Press, 2001). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Richmond Arts Magazine, New South, cream city review, diode, Gulf Coast, and Blackbird. Marshall earned his MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he currently serves as an adjunct instructor, teaching poetry writing and advanced composition. Marshall is also a writing instructor at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, where he holds workshops in beginning poetry, multigenre writing, and the lyric essay.

Sonja Livingston, acting senior editor, most recently published the essay collection Ladies Night at the Dreamland (University of Georgia, 2016), which was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Another essay collection, Queen of the Fall (University of Nebraska, 2015), was included on Lithub’s list of 33 Life-changing books in Honor of International Women’s Day. Sonja’s first book, Ghostbread (University of Georgia, 2009), won the AWP Award for Nonfiction and has been adopted by classrooms around the country. Sonja’s writing has appeared in many journals and outlets such as Salon, The Rumpus, and Creative Nonfiction, and is widely anthologized, including Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women. Her essays have been honored with a New York Arts Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, the 2017 VanderMey Essay prize, a Susan Atefat Essay Prize, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women. In addition to teaching creative nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University, Livingston teaches in the University of New Orleans’ Summer Writing Program in Cork, Ireland.

Brandie Gray, lead associate editor, is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in English and creative writing with a minor in communication studies from Hollins University.

Victoria C. Flanagan, lead associate editor emerita, is a third-year MFA student in poetry and nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the recipient of the 2017 Thomas B. Gay Graduate Poetry Award and the Catherine and Joan Byrne Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, as well as an MFA scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her reviews have appeared in Blackbird, and her poetry is forthcoming Beloit Poetry Journal and RHINO. Flanagan holds a BA in English and BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Chelsea Gillenwater, book review editor, has had short stories and reviews published in Blackbird and Philologia. She earned a BA in English and communications from Virginia Tech and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as the 2014–2015 lead associate editor for Blackbird. She is a copy editor and designer for the Bristol Herald Courier.


ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Jake Branigan, lead audio editor, is a graduate of the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University. His fiction has appeared in Blue River, and he co-wrote the upcoming short film The Beautiful & Damned.

Katie Brooks, assistant lead pagebuilder, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned BAs in English and art history with a minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies from Fairfield University, where she served as the 2015–2016 managing editor of Dogwood.

Scott Selden, lead copy editor, is a second-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. His fiction has appeared in several publications, including Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” flash fiction series. He has also worked as an intern and assistant editor for Virginia Living magazine.

 

INTERNS
Angela Benitez, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the fall of 2017 with a BA in English and a minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

Elizabeth Farschon, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the fall of 2017 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.

Jonathan Figaro, literary intern and photo editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in the spring of 2018 with BAs in English and African American studies.

Farrah Fox, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish.

Meghan Hannifin, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a BA in English and a BS in psychology.

Ciera Higginbotham, literary intern and audio editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her BA in English and her MA in English with a creative writing emphasis from Mississippi State University.

Fernando Lozada Coro, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in the fall of 2017 with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish.

Jennifer Miller, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in 2018 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.

Victoria Morrisette, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a BS in mass communications and a minor in creative writing.

Simone Plater, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing. She has previously worked with Plain China at VCU.

Hannah Truslow, literary intern and photo editor, is a sophomore undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. They will graduate in the spring of 2020 with BAs in English and gender, sexuality, and women’s Studies.

AJ White, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a BA in English and a minor in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elijah Zimmerman, literary intern and audio editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. They will graduate in 2018 with a BA in English and minors in creative writing and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

 

VOLUNTEERS
Rachel Beanland is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has BAs in art history and journalism from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in arts administration from Winthrop University. She is the director of operations at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

Jennifer Heins graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014 with BAs in English and cinema, and a minor in creative writing. She owns and operates Chancery Editing, which edits literary fiction for independent authors. She also freelances as a script supervisor for feature films made in Virginia.

 

& MANY THANKS
to all the editors, staff members, interns, and volunteers who made Blackbird, volume 16, number 2 possible.

Special thanks to Brandie Gray, our lead associate editor, for keeping us all focused on this big effort, and for bringing the work of the contributors and the Blackbird team to fruition.

Thanks to Victoria C. Flanagan for her continued support and dedicated mentorship efforts as lead associate editor emerita.

Thanks to M.A. Keller for organizing and designing innovative gallery builds and keeping everyone on track under a tight deadline.

Thanks to Sonja Livingston for her insight and support as acting senior editor.

Thanks to Jake Branigan for his audio capturing and editing, and for training the media team; to Scott Selden for taking charge of the copyediting team; to Randy Marshall for directing the photo editing team; and to Katie Brooks for her commitment to the pagebuilding team.

Thanks to Chelsea Gillenwater for her meticulous book review editing and continued support of Blackbird.

Thanks to Rebecca E. Jones for her outstanding PR and social media efforts.

Thanks to Randy Marshall, Ciera Higginbotham, and AJ White for their extensive work with submissions and for leading the reading groups.

Thanks to Mary Flinn, Randy Marshall, and Victoria C. Flanagan for contributing the foreword text, and thanks to everyone who wrote metatext for this issue.

Thanks to our off-site volunteers, Rachel Beanland and Jennifer Heins, for their manuscript reading and support efforts.

And to all others—manuscript readers, pagebuilders, audio editors, photo editors, transcribers, and copy editors, our sincere appreciation.  bug


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