Interview with David Daniel
In September of 2004, David Wojahn and Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan
met with David Daniel in the Blackbird offices at Virginia Commonwealth
University. In the first part of the conversation, Daniel, recipient of the Seventh
Annual Levis Reading Prize for his collection Seven-Star Bird, spoke
primarily about the making of the book and its poems. In the second part, the
focus shifted to his role as poetry editor at Ploughshares and how that
experience has influenced his own writing.
Interview with Ellen Bryant Voigt
In August of 2004, Blackbird editor Gregory Donovan met with poet Ellen
Voigt at Voigt's home near Marshfield, Vermont. They talked about Voigt's
ten-part poem "The Feeder," which appears in this issue of Blackbird,
and about the lyric poem as well as other forms and hybrids. The accompanying
snapshots were taken at Voigt's home and in the surrounding area.
A Reading by
On September 23, 2004, poet Philip Levine read at the Virginia Museum
of Fine Arts as part of Poetic Principles. This series, sponsored by the
Museum and New Virginia Review, Inc., brings to Richmond the best poets,
writers, critics, and translators at work today. Following an introduction
by David Wojahn, Levine read poems from The Mercy (Alfred
A. Knopf, 2000) and from his latest book, Breath (Alfred A.
Knopf, 2004), as well as several more recent poems.
Pivot Points Poetry
A documentation of Pivot Points, an exhibition of paintings and poems by three
American artists and writers, appears in the Gallery section of this issue of
Blackbird. After showing in galleries in Maryland, Massachusetts, and
Lima, Peru, in November of 2004 the exhibition opened at Western Michigan University
in Kalamazoo with the addition of audio recordings of the poets reading their
Interview with Richard McCann
In December of 2004, writer Wesley Gibson (You Are Here: A Memoir of Arrival),
met with Richard McCann in Washington, D.C. They talked about Mother
of Sorrows, McCann's latest collection of short stories, but they also talked
about the themes that run through McCann's poetry, essays, and fiction, about
his approaches to writing in different genres, about the effect his family life
has had on his work, and more. McCann's story "My Brother in the Basement" appears
in this issue of Blackbird.
Interview with Sally Bowring
In February of 2004, painter Sally Bowring spoke with Susan Glasser in
the Blackbird office on the VCU campus. In a wide-ranging conversation,
Bowring, who appears in the documentation of Pivot Points: Three Generations
of American Painters & Poets in the current Gallery section, talked
about abstraction, her own processes, the Pivot Points exhibition, and
Susan Glasser is director of the Boyden Gallery of
Art at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She interviewed art critic Peter
Schjeldahl for Blackbird, Vol. 3 No. 1, and contributed an introductory
essay for Richard Carlyon's video "Flight Song" in Blackbird,
Vol. 1 No. 1.
Interview with Michael Byers
On September 16, 2004, David Pandolfe, a second-year fiction student
in Virginia Commonwealth University's MFA Program in Creative Writing,
Michael Byers in the Blackbird office on
the VCU campus.
Byers was in Richmond to receive the third VCU First Novelist
Award for his novel Long for This World, published by Houghton
Mifflin in 2003. Their conversation focused primarily on Long
for This World—where
it began, how it took shape, the way it changed from words on a page
into an award-winning novel.
Ewald | In
Peace and Harmony: Carver Portraits
Over the course of several
weeklong visits the fall and winter of 2003, internationally acclaimed
photographer Wendy Ewald worked with a group of third, fourth, and fifth
graders at Richmond, Virginia's Carver Elementary School. Together, they
developed photographic images and text exploring the students' perceptions
of self, community, and home.
This material—a multifaceted portrait
of the Carver community—ultimately took the form of 29 large-scale
photographic banners, each measuring 10 by 8 feet. The banners were installed
in twelve outdoor locations throughout the neighborhood.
Ewald's project moves art beyond the
boundaries of the gallery walls into the public arena, expanding the
meaning and implications of the term "on site."
A Lecture by Ellen Bryant
On August 6, 2004, Ellen Bryant Voigt delivered
the morning lecture to participants in the 26th Annual Festival of
Poetry, held at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. With the
permission of Voigt and The Frost Place, Blackbird presents
the lecture in its entirety. It was recorded and produced by digitalremasters.com.
The 26th Annual Festival
of Poetry, held August 1-7, 2004, featured daily lectures, seminars,
readings, and critiques of participants' work. Guest faculty included
Major Jackson (2004 summer resident poet), Thomas Lux, Toi Derricotte,
Baron Wormser, B. H. Fairchild, and Ellen Bryant Voigt. Allison Funk,
William Wenthe, Ted Deppe, and Eloise Bruce serve as resident faculty.
Seventh Annual Levis
On September 16, 2004, the Department of English
and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Virginia
Commonwealth University celebrated the awarding of the Seventh Annual
Levis Reading Prize. Marcel Cornis-Pope, Department Chair, introduced
the event. Gregory Donovan then introduced David Daniel, with his introduction
including a video of Larry Levis reading "Poem Ending With a Hotel
on Fire." Daniel then read from
his winning book, Seven-Star Bird (Graywolf, 2003).
In conjunction with the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Blackbird remembers
the poet Larry Levis and features poems by this year's Levis Reading Prize winner,
You will also find Levis's "Poem Ending With a Hotel on Fire" and
streaming video of Levis reading it; a reprinting, courtesy of University of
Pittsburgh Press, of "Those Graves in Rome"; audio
of Philip Levine in which he talks about his longtime friendship with Levis
(including their time in Rome); Edward Byrne's
essay "To Recover the Poet: Larry Levis's Elegy, The Selected
The Gazer Within"; andforthcomingaudio recordings
of the Seventh Annual Levis Prize Reading and an
interview with David Daniel.
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