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 Ron Slate    

On September 29th, 2006, Ron Slate, winner of the Ninth Annual Levis Reading Prize, answered questions about his writing process and about his winning book, The Incentive of the Maggot, for Virginia Commonwealth University faculty and graduate students. Slate discussed issues of personal and political history as they meet in poetry, as well as his twenty year hiatus from writing. Among those in attendance were David Wojahn and Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan.

  The Incentive of the Maggot, book cover
Chapbook Author Interview    

Thursday, March 9, 2006, Susan Settlemyre Williams interviewed Dan Albergotti, Cecily Parks, and Mark Yakich on the publication of their recent chapbooks: Charon’s Manifest by Albergotti, Cold Work by Parks, and The Making of Collateral Beauty by Yakich. Reviews of these three books also appear in our suite of fifteen chapbook reviews.

  albergotti, parks, and yakich
A Reading by Lee Smith    
On November 15, 2006, writer Lee Smith appeared in the Poetic Principles Series at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts where she read from her new novel, On Agate Hill. The novel, told through diaries, letters, songs, court papers, and other artifacts, tracks the life of Molly Petree from her childhood during Reconstruction until her death in the early 20th century.   Lee Smith
Ninth Annual Levis Prize Reading    

On September 28th, 2006, the Department of English and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the awarding of the Ninth Annual Levis Reading Prize to Ron Slate for The Incentive of the Maggot. Slate read poems from his winning book, as well as new work.

  Ron Slate

Sylvia Plath's “Ennui”   (introduction and text)

Written during her undergraduate years at Smith College, this previously unpublished poem appears here for the first time. It offers evidence that poets are not only born, but also made—as Ben Jonson observed rather long ago. Plath's highly allusive and carefully wrought sonnet allows us a glimpse of an iconic poet in the formative stages of her development.   Sylvia Plath
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 streaming audio of Levis’s “Some Grass Along a Ditch Bank,” as well as the poems “In the City of Light,” and “My Life in a Later Style of Fire.” Also included are David Baker’s critical essay “Levis Here and There,” and Stephen Dunn’s memoir “Larry Levis in Syracuse.” Levis Reading Prize winner, Ron Slate, is represented by two new poems, “Reunion” and “General Sweeney Dies at 84” and by three poems with streaming audio from his prize winning collection The Incentive of the Maggot: “Granite City,” “Apparition of the Virgin,” and “The Incentive of the Maggot.” In addition, you will find streaming audio of Slate from his winning book at the "Ninth Annual Levis Reading Prize."

  Larry Levis

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