blackbirdonline journalFall 2019  Vol. 18 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 © 2019 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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EDITORIAL STAFF

Blackbird Editorial Staff, Fall 2019 photo by Karishma Singh
(Left to right) First Row: Mary Flinn, Caitlin Wilson, Katherine Mooney Brooks, Karishma Singh, Sonja Livingston; Second Row: Soledad Green, Megan Linde, Brandie Gray, Margaret Johnson; Third Row: Bennett Nieberg, Lara Koebke, Hayley Graffunder, Danielle Kotrla, Rachel Rivenbark; Fourth Row: Neta Harris, Ty Phelps, Jamal McKay, Max Torti; Fifth Row: Ryan Haupt, Colin Bailes, Rebecca Lee, Brandon Young, M.A. Keller

spacer Lead Associate Editors
  Caitlin Wilson 2019–2020
  Katherine M. Brooks 2018–2019
  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 ReviewThe Southern Review, New England Review, TriQuarterly, diode, Crazyhorse, 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 the New Virginia Review, Inc. in 1985. She is 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 the New Virginia Review. She has participated in 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.

Sonja Livingston, senior editor, is the author of The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). She is also the author of the award-winning nonfiction books Ladies Night at the Dreamland (University of Georgia Press, 2016), which was named a best nonfiction book of 2016 by Kirkus; Queen of the Fall (University of Nebraska Press, 2015); and Ghostbread (University of Georgia Press, 2009), winner of the AWP Prize and a Bronze Prize by Foreword. Her essays appear in The Kenyon Review, Salon, Sojourners, and Lithub. Her work is widely anthologized in texts on writing and craft, including in Best of Brevity, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by WomenPoverty & Privilege: A Reader, and many others. She has received fellowships from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Deming Fund, as well as awards from Arts & LettersThe Iowa Review, and Ruminate Magazine. Sonja has taught for Writing Workshops Abroad in Edinburgh, San Miguel de Allende, and Cork. Besides being an associate professor in VCU’s Creative Writing Program, Livingston serves as writer-in-residence at the Gap Creek Writers’ Studio and faculty at Vermont College of Fine Art’s Postgraduate Writers’ Conference.

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 New Virginia Review, Runes, and The Southern Review, among others. 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 his MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Caitlin Wilson, lead associate editor, is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ENTROPY, Rogue Agent, Iron Horse Literary Review, and RHINO. She is also the winner of a 2019 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Journals Project award in poetry. She earned a BA in English with a minor in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was the recipient of the 2018 Henrietta Spiegel Creative Writing Award and a Jiménez-Porter Literary Prize for Poetry, and served as the 2017–2018 editor in chief of the literary journal Stylus.

Katherine Mooney Brooks, lead associate editor emerita, is a third-year MFA student in poetry and nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was twice the recipient of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Graduate Nonfiction Award. Brooks holds a BA 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. She is a recipient of the 2019 Sewanee Writers’ Conference MFA scholarship in poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in BlackbirdImage, and The Tusculum Review.

Brandie Gray, associate editor and lead pagebuilder, holds an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a featured Blackbird editor in an online interview with The Review Review, and her work has appeared in Atticus ReviewAppalachian Heritage, and The Boiler. She teaches expository writing at Virginia Commonwealth University and English dual enrollment courses at Reynolds Community College.

Victoria C. Flanagan, book reviews editor, holds an MFA in poetry and nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poetry is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal and RHINO, and her book reviews have appeared in Blackbird. 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.

Chelsea Gillenwater, book reviews editor, has had short stories and reviews published in Blackbird and Philologia. She holds an MFA in fiction from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as the 2014–2015 lead associate editor for Blackbird. She is the assistant city editor for the Bristol Herald Courier and Washington County News.

 

ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Colin Bailes, lead copy editor, is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Missouri ReviewThe Cortland ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewSugar House Review, and The National Poetry Review, among others. He holds a BA in English from the University of Central Florida.

Anna-Claire McGrath, consulting editor, is a second-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been published in no. 2 magazine and Dear Damsels. She serves as an interviews editor for the feminist literary magazine The Fem, and co-created a literary magazine called werkloos. She earned an MSc in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, where she served as editor in chief of the literary magazine three point seven.

 

INTERNS
Hayley Graffunder, literary intern and photo editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in English with minors in creative writing and linguistics from the University of St. Thomas, where she served as co-editor of the Summit Avenue Review. She was the recipient of the 2018 Lon Otto Prize for poetry.

Soledad Green, literary intern and co-lead photo editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2021 with a BA in English.

Neta Harris, literary intern and lead audio editor, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been published in Tulip Tree Review. She holds a BA in English with a concentration in fiction writing from Middle Tennessee State University. She wrote sketch comedy at The Second City, and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America.

Ryan Haupt, literary intern and audio editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in the fall of 2020 with a BA in English.

Margaret Johnson, literary intern and audio editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will earn a BA in English in May 2020 with a minor in Religion.

Lara Koebke, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in Fall 2020 with a B.A. in English and a minor in creative writing.

Danielle Kotrla, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work can be found in The Pinch, Pidgeonholes, After the Pause, and elsewhere. She holds a BA in English Creative Writing and Philosophy from the University of North Texas, where she was the recipient of the Jawdat Haydar Poetry Prize.

Rebecca Lee, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia. Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the fall of 2019 with a BA in English.

Megan Linde, literary intern and copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2021 with a BA in English.

Jamal McKay, literary intern and copy editor, will graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2020 with a BA in English. He writes screenplays and some prose fiction.

Bennett Nieberg, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry and creative nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. They are a Pushcart Prize nominee and their writing has appeared in Western Humanities ReviewCrab Fat MagazineEntropyThe Indianapolis Review, and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. They are the co-founding editor of What Are Birds? They hold a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Ty Phelps, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. He won The Gravity of the Thing’s Six Word Story Contest in 2016 and VCU's annual Catherine and Joan Byrne Poetry Prize in 2019. His work appears in Writespace, The Clackamas Literary Review, and Scribble, among others. He holds a BA in English from Carleton College and an MA in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College.

Rachel Rivenbark, literary intern and assistant copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2021 with a BA in English. She has worked as a nonfiction writer for Quail Bell Magazine.

Karishma Singh, literary intern and co-lead photo editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2020 with a BA in English. 

Max Torti, literary intern and lead assistant pagebuilder, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the fall of 2020 with a BA in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing.

Brandon Young, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a BA in English from Indiana University.

 

VOLUNTEERS
Kayleigh Dumont, former Blackbird literary intern and copy editor (2016), is a first-year MA English student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated from VCU in the spring of 2017 with a BA in English and minors in creative writing and psychology.

 

& MANY THANKS
to all the editors, staff members, interns, and volunteers who made Blackbird, volume 18, number 2 possible.

Special thanks to Caitlin Wilson, 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 Katherine Mooney Brooks for her efforts as lead associate editor emerita, leading the reading group, and for creating the 100 Refutations feature.

Thanks to Colin Bailes for running the copyediting room with dedication, humor, and a fastidious attention to detail.

Thanks to Brandie Gray for leading the pagebuilding team and dedicating much time and energy to building this volume, Anna-Claire McGrath for training the audio team and Neta Harris for leading it, Karishma Singh and Soledad Green for their photo capturing and editing, Rachel Rivenbark for transcription work, and Max Torti for handling pagebuilding challenges.   

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

Thanks to Mary Flinn for her continued support for our editorial staff and contributions to in-house copy, M.A. Keller for researching and organizing innovative gallery builds, and Sonja Livingston for championing Blackbird and consulting on nonfiction submissions.

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


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