Conversation with Spencer Reece
September of 2005, Spencer Reece, recipient of the Eighth Annual Levis
Reading Prize, met with students from the MFA Program in Creative Writing
at Virginia Commonwealth University. Reece talked primarily about his
collection The Clerk's Tale and about its twenty-year
journey from a handful of rough poems to a prize-winning collection.
Interview with Elizabeth McCracken and Ann Patchett
November 19, 2005, writers and long-time friends Elizabeth McCracken and
Ann Patchett interviewed each other for Blackbird during a visit to Virginia
University. They also
took questions from students of VCU's MFA Program in Creative Writing.
The conversation ranged from their first meeting at
the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, to their current relationship
as writers, to the different ways in which they approach their writing.
Reading by Hal Crowther
On October 26, 2005, writer Hal Crowther read
at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part of Poetic Principles. This
series, sponsored by the Virginia Museum and New Virginia Review, Inc.,
brings to Richmond the best poets, writers, critics, and translators at
work today. Crowther read from his latest collection of essays, Gather
At The River: Notes From The Post-millennial South (Louisiana State
University Press, 2005).
Interview with Tom De Haven
November of 2005, Michaux Dempster of Blackbird met with Tom
De Haven, author of the novel It’s Superman! (Chronicle
to talk about the making of It’s Superman! from conception to
completion. De Haven is also the
works as the Funny Papers trilogy: Funny Papers (Viking,
1985), Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies (Henry Holt, 1996), and Dugan
Lake (Penguin, 1989);
and the cult classic Freaks’ Amour (Morrow, 1979).
Interview with Allison Joseph
April of 2005, poet Allison Joseph met with Jennifer Merrifield of Blackbird at
the annual Associated Writing Programs' conference
Vancouver, British Columbia. They talked about Joseph's career as a poet,
writer, and teacher, and finished with a discussion of the Young Writers
Workshop, which Joseph founded at Southern Illinois University in 1999.
Richard Carlyon, Selected Work
Carlyon appeared in Blackbird’s first issue, and we are delighted
to present his work again through a visit with his paintings, drawings and
videos as they appeared in a selective retrospective of his work at Richmond’s
Reynolds Gallery, November 4 – December 23, 2005. This exhibition celebrated
Carlyon’s selection as the recipient of Virginia Commonwealth University’s
President’s Medal, given in recognition of outstanding service to the
VCU community as teacher and artist.
Blackbird introduces a new column by poet, critic, and frequent Blackbird contributor
Ron Smith. In “Red Guitar,” Smith, author of the collections Running
Again in Hollywood Cemetery (University Presses of Florida, 1988)
and Moon Road (forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press),
will have as his aim “to present poetry, to examine it but mainly
to celebrate it.”
Levis Prize Reading
On September 23, 2005, the Department of English
and the Master of Fine Arts Program
in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the awarding
of the Eighth Annual Levis Reading Prize.
Program faculty Gary Sange, Gregory Donovan, and David Wojahn introduced
the event. Reece then read from his winning
book, The Clerk's Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 2004).
In conjunction with the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth
University, Blackbird remembers the poet Larry Levis, who was
a member of the VCU faculty at the time of his death in 1996.
In this Reading Loop, you will find Levis’s “In 1967” and streaming
audio of Levis reading the poem; informal sketches culled from Levis’s notebooks;
essay/review of Elegy, “The World as L. Found It”; the poem
“Florida Ghazals” by this
year’s Levis Reading Prize winner,
Spencer Reece, and Reece's streaming audio of the poem. Forthcoming is audio
of the Eighth Annual Levis Prize Reading in its entirety and a talk
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