Becky Hagenston, Julia Johnson,
Miguel Murphy, Joshua Poteat, and Erin Lambert are most likely not yet
authors with whom you are familiar. We at Blackbird, however, believe
that you should become acquainted with their work and what they have to
say. These five writers demonstrate the remarkable promise and ability
that are present in the new voices of American letters. They are also
joined in this issue by a number of other writers whose work is just beginning
to reach us in print and online. And what wonderful work it is!
Hagenston's poised and evanescent second-person story, "How to Keep
Busy While Your Fiancé Climbs Mount Everest," listens in on
a lover's distraught mind. The unnamed narrator effectively voices her
nervous worry in her direct address while Hagenston simultaneously uses
this immediacy and the short sentences that serve it to show how tenuously
the narrator holds her fears at bay. She makes a strong case for the deep
Shower Wall" is the first published fiction by poet Julia Johnson.
The story shares with her poems a lush connection to language and a vivid
use of imagery and detail. Also like her poems, the story requires that
you pay vigilant attention as you move from word to word and from sentence
to sentence. If you follow her carefully, you will find that you are able
to some degree to enter the pain her narrator is experiencing as the words
and the things they stand for disintegrate under her and your eyes.
should be obvious as a central interest in all writing, especially poetry,
yet so many have forgotten that it comes nearly as a surprise to encounter
the power of an individual word, in its sound and its history, as a doorway
that opens a world. Miguel Murphy's work features prescient word choice
together with attention to the music of words as ways to hold in memory
the strong emotions unleashed in a troubled family, offering those words
as an enduring source of pain and delight, because, as his poem "Necromancy"
asserts, "nothing music summons ever dies."
natural elegance and untiring invention, Joshua Poteat writes some of
the most remarkable poetry you are ever likely to encounter. In storylines
that move beyond the virtues of narrative into a region of wonder, combining
violence and tenderness in an intimate voice capable of revelations as
swift and sudden as the sear of lighting, his poems work themselves into
the cloudy fabric of your imagination and reside there as unforgettable
that "all gods are killers without fault," Erin Lambert brings
a unique combination of courage and imagination to her spiritual meditations,
resulting in speculations that force open the windows of perception to
achieve poems that forge beyond raw astonishment into ripe understanding.
texts appear in different sections of Blackbird but are organized
in this alternative menu as a featured Reading Loop to allow easy navigation
of the material.
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