blackbirdonline journalSpring 2022  Vol. 21  No. 1
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Founded in 2001 as a joint venture of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2022 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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EDITORIAL STAFF

Blackbird Editorial Staff, Spring 2022 Photo by Hayley Graffunder
(Left to right) Top Row: Yara Mohamed, Waverley Vesely, Nicholas Angeli, James Fowler, M.A. Keller; Second Row: Isaac Truman Nashville Russell, Blaire Ayres, Jamie Walters, John K. Webb; Third Row: Nicole Milanovic, Olivia Jazwick, Emma Palmer, Audrey Garrett; Fourth Row: Virginia Dene, Gracie Quilon, Avery Vaughn, Cara Chou; Fifth Row: Mary Flinn, Rebecca Poynor, Hayley Graffunder, Brandon Young, Danielle Kotrla

spacer Managing Editors
“Lead Associates” prior to 2021
  Rebecca Poynor 2021–2022
  Hayley Graffunder 2020–2021
  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 managing editor position, previously titled lead associate editor until the 2020–2021 academic year, 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 managing 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
Mary Flinn, founding 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 New Virginia Review. She has participated on editors’ panels, served as a literature fellowship judge for numerous arts councils, and been a review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She was the inaugural recipient of the Theresa Pollak Award for Words from Richmond Magazine, and Style Weekly recognized her as one of their 2016 Richmond Women in the Arts.

Rebecca Poynor, managing editor, is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poetry has appeared in Chestnut Review, Nashville Review, and Rogue Agent. She holds a BA in English from Mississippi State University with minors in creative writing and linguistics.

Hayley Graffunder, managing editor emerita, lead reading group facilitator, and lead photo editor, is a third-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Cincinnati Review, Occulum, RHINO, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2020 Catherine and Joan Byrne Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, and the 2018 Lon Otto Prize for poetry. She earned a BA in English with minors in creative writing and linguistics from the University of St. Thomas, where she served as coeditor of the Summit Avenue Review.

M.A. Keller, online and founding editor, is a technologist, web coordinator, and writing instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English. His poetry has appeared in New Virginia Review, Runes, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He has created a number of historical suites in Blackbird’s Gallery, including a four-part 1918 influenza suite of researched and republished material. Keller has taught workshops in poetry and advanced writing, and courses in hypertext and new media. His work centers on issues related to electronic publishing, including materiality, multimodal writing and design, and questions regarding the durability of digital archives. Recent teaching and research interests center on the transmission of error in print and digital formats, as well as lay and professional attitudes toward error.

Gregory Donovan, founding editor, is the author of the poetry collections Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press, 2015), which was long-listed for the Julie Suk Award, and Calling His Children Home (University of Missouri Press, 1993), which won the Devins Award for Poetry. He is the co-editor (with Michele Poulos) of Prismatics: Larry Levis & Contemporary American Poetry (Diode Editions, 2020). His poetry, essays, translations, and fiction have been published in the Kenyon Review, The 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.

 

ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Danielle Kotrla, lead pagebuilder, is a third-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has appeared in The Pinch, Moon City Review, and elsewhere. She holds a BA in English creative writing and a BA in philosophy from the University of North Texas.

Brandon Young, lead copy editor, is a third-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University where he serves as the 2021–2022 Levis Reading Prize Fellow. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO and BOAAT. He is the recipient of the Bertolt Clever Poetry Writing Prize. He holds a BA in English and creative writing from Indiana University.

James Fowler, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year fiction student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s MFA program. He graduated from Old Dominion University with a BA in English, a concentration in creative writing, and a minor in women’s studies.

Waverley Vesely, literary intern, copy editor, and assistant photo editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Their work has been published in Grub Street Literary Journal. They hold an MA in creative writing from the University of North Texas and a BS in English from Towson University.

Jamie Walters, literary intern and copy editor, is a first-year MFA student in fiction and creative nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a copy editor for the Washington Square Review and former editor-in-chief of Stockpot Literary Magazine. She holds an MFA in creative writing from New York University.

 

INTERNS
Nicholas Angeli, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in English.

Amel Aksouh, literary intern, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in political science, a concentration in international relations, and a minor in English.

Blaire Ayres, literary intern and copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BS in criminal justice and a BA in English.

Alicia Bonilla, literary intern and copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. They serve as managing editor for Plain China: National Anthology of the Best Undergraduate Writing. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BA in English and a minor in professional writing and editing.

Cara Chou, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has appeared in the student literary journals Pwatem and Quirk. She will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BS in biology and minors in creative writing and chemistry.

Virginia Dene, literary intern and copy editor, is a sophomore undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She studies English and political science and will graduate in the spring of 2024.

Audrey Garrett, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the summer of 2022 with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish.

Olivia Jazwick, literary intern and copy editor, is a sophomore undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a BA in English and minors in philosophy of law and professional writing.

Lexi Lewallen, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the fall of 2022 with a BA in English and minors in creative writing and media studies.

Yara Mohamed, literary intern and copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked as the assistant art editor for Silhouette Literary and Art Magazine. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.

Emma Palmer, literary intern and copy editor, is a sophomore undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a BA in English and a creative writing minor. She was awarded the 2020 Creative Writing Award her senior year at Randolph High School.

Isaac Truman Nashville Russell, literary intern and copy editor, is a sophomore undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in 2025 with a major in English and a minor in creative writing.

Avery Vaughn, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Their work is forthcoming in Pwatem. They will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in English and a creative writing minor.

John K. Webb, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a graduate of the Distinguished Majors Program, and his short story, “Helens,” won the Undergraduate Fiction Award at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2021. He currently works as a content writer for BroadSword Monthly. He will graduate in the fall of 2022 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.

Gracie Quilon, literary intern and copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in spring 2022 with a BS in biology and minors in chemistry and creative writing.

 

VOLUNTEERS
Kayleigh Dumont, volunteer copy editor, is a third-year MA English student at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her BA in English with minors in creative writing and psychology. She interned at Blackbird in 2016.

Rachel Keys, volunteer social media intern and pagebuilder, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BFA in kinetic imaging and a minor in creative writing.

Frank Garcia Marquez, volunteer reader, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BS in clinical laboratory sciences.

Nicole Milanovic, volunteer copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in English.

Mackenzie Oliff, volunteer copy editor, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has appeared in LitroMagazine and featured in George Mason’s annual Fall for the Book Festival of 2016. She is a recipient of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.

Emma Ostenfeld, volunteer reader, is a senior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an executive board member of Virginia Commonwealth University HerCampus, where she publishes weekly articles. She will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a BA in psychology and a minor in English.

Destiny Price, volunteer reader and copy editor, is a junior undergraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a BA in English and a BS in psychology.

B. Luke Wilson, volunteer reader, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2021 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing. His work has appeared in East by Northeast, The Virginia Writers Club, and elsewhere. He won the 2020 Blue Nib Contest for Fiction with the Blue Ridge Writers and leads two local critique groups in the Charlottesville area.

 

& MANY THANKS
to all the editors, staff members, interns, and volunteers who made Blackbird, volume 21, number 1 possible.

Special thanks to Rebecca Poynor, our managing 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 Hayley Graffunder for her efforts as managing editor emerita, for leading our reading group with with patience, insightful direction, and charm, and for always pitching in when odds and ends begin to stack up.

Thanks to Brandon Young and Danielle Kotrla for hard work and generosity at a monumental level. To Brandon Young for directing our copyediting team with spontaneity, reverence, and much-needed levity. To Danielle Kotrla for leading the pagebuilding team with unwavering persistence, always bringing humor, and dedicating much time and energy to building this volume.

Thanks to Jamie Walters for her hard work editing bios.

Thanks to Rebecca E. Jones for her unwavering dedication to social media.

Thanks to Mary Flinn for her many years of commitment to the literary community, continued support of our editorial staff, and substantial contributions to in-house copy.

Thanks to M.A. Keller for supporting our quality and efficacy, and for his extensive effort on Blackbird’s gallery and features.

Thanks to the browse menu team, Amel Aksouh, Audrey Garrett, Jamie Walters, Nicholas Angeli, and Olivia Jazwick, for assisting with the task of creating a thematically engaging reading order for the issue’s content.

And to all others—manuscript readers, pagebuilders, transcribers, and copy editors—our sincere appreciation. Your dedication, ingenuity, and good spirits make it all possible.  bug


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