Dedicated to the memory of Thomas B. Gay, educator, painter, poet, friend.
(read more about Thomas B. Gay)
Each spring we use this reading loop to bring to your attention writers and artists whose work you may be encountering for the first time. In this issue, the group includes several who have already made their way to other lists, anthologies, and small presses acclaiming their remarkable work. We expect that you will be glad to discover them now—and to hear of them again later in their careers, as you no doubt will.
|Brittany Cavallaro’s poetry describes a sensuality that is dangerous and enticing, with speakers who role-shift between victim and black widow. We readers are voyeurs as a woman, stopped for gas, is accosted in “White-Armed Persephone Walks Into His Van,” and are complicit when the speaker in “Magician’s Girl,” taunts “You / don’t know that what you do in the dark / of your room—I do it too?” In this universe a magic hat is rarely just a magic hat.|
|Julie Hensley’s character-driven prose crosses generational and social boundaries, and her narrative shifts deftly between dueling voices as her two protagonists spiral toward and away from each other, creating a double helix of second person perspective. Set against the backdrop of a family farm, Hensley’s fiction anchors us in a generous sensibility as an aunt and niece negotiate a territorial disconnection with a sense of earned wisdom and a welcome simplicity.|
|Caught in the act of definition, the dropped lines of Jenny Johnson’s “severe” wind back and forth across the page while the lucid stanzas of “Ephemera” work both “margins” of the textual space this work inhabits. Such technical explorations elevate the poet’s notions of the self through careful language and foster a narrative that begins subtly before taking off in a rush, its eager reader in tow.|
|Eve Jones’s imagery washes over the reader in persistent, lulling waves that build in seemingly impossible ways. Her precise lines make sense of and transform a world that travels from the sea of perception to God’s ethereal plate, traversing intractable mind with an enviable ease which speaks of recognition. Convergence is this poet’s watchword, as she brings truth and something deeper than truth into a fine, enlivened balance.|
|Chris Leo’s “Infinidelity,” a dystopian tour up the creek of modern love, accomplishes athletic and liquid feats of voice. Its narrative navigates languages and relationships and sweeps the grit of lust and the detritus of a disembodied sexual longing before its dark current. “The cosmos had lost their frigidity, the homing pigeons homed, if the grippe grasped me I wouldn’t have flinched, and the confinement I once dreaded . . . had given way to cozy with a capital Comfort.”|
|The poetry of Yu Shibuya is insistent and reverential in its conversation with the reader, and “Counting Things” reminds us of the insufficiency of language and human understanding even as it captures haunting and beautiful scenes that seem as transient as the air. “Japanese Ghost’s Don’t Have Feet” glorifies and shrinks from its speaker’s past. “Some Things You Know Exactly” circles like the moth it features, defying the certainty of its own title.|
Introductions texts appear in different sections of Blackbird but are organized in this alternative menu, a featured reading loop allowing easy navigation of related material.
A link to this “Introductions Reading Loop” menu appears at the bottom of every Introductions-related
page. You may also return to this menu at any time by visiting Features.