blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1

A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.


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A Conversation with Spencer Reece  
In 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.

An Interview with Elizabeth McCracken and Ann Patchett  
On November 19, 2005, writers and long-time friends Elizabeth McCracken and Ann Patchett interviewed each other for Blackbird during a visit to Virginia Commonwealth 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.

A 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).

An Interview with Tom De Haven  
In November of 2005, Michaux Dempster of Blackbird met with Tom De Haven, author of the novel It’s Superman! (Chronicle Books, 2005), to talk about the making of It’s Superman! from conception to completion. De Haven is also the author of such works as the Funny Papers trilogy: Funny Papers (Viking, 1985), Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies (Henry Holt, 1996), and Dugan Under Ground (Metropolitan, 2001); Sunburn Lake (Penguin, 1989); and the cult classic Freaks’ Amour (Morrow, 1979).

An Interview with Allison Joseph  
In April of 2005, poet Allison Joseph met with Jennifer Merrifield of Blackbird at the annual Associated Writing Programs' conference in 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
Richard 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.

Red Guitar
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.”

Eighth Annual 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).

Levis Remembered  
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; Tom Andrews’s 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 by Spencer Reece.

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