blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1
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A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 and 2005 by Blackbird and the individual writers and artists

ISSN 1540-3068

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   David Daniel
   Ellen Bryant Voigt
   Richard McCann
   William Matthews
   Pivot Points

As we have noted before, voices provide one of the particular pleasures of online publishing, and we are privileged in this issue to offer a variety: voices that are gone but that you don't want to forget, voices that speak intimately of memory, voices that offer the accents of a different perspective, voices that introduce the particular music of a poem.

Therefore, we consider ourselves fortunate to put before you part one of David Wojahn's and James Harms's interview with the late poet William Matthews (part two will come your way in our next issue). This interview opens with Matthews noting that "Home is an invented place and not a given and to a certain degree is without geography." The point that Wojahn makes is that the essential home for the artist is the imagination, and Matthews expounds eloquently on that topic. Also in Poetry, we feature our annual Levis Reading Loop, which showcases David Daniel, winner of the 2004 Levis Reading Prize, as well as the work and voice of the late Larry Levis, whose final home was in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. In Nonfiction we feature Wojahn's thoughtful review of Matthews's poetry; Edward Byrne's consideration of Levis's poetic legacy; and Philip Levine's informal memories of Levis as a student. These poets, now gone, still speak powerfully for our recent past, and we remain grateful for their efforts.

We welcome Ellen Bryant Voigt to Blackbird and suggest you listen to, as well as read, "The Feeder," a poem that sets the mark for a serendipitous group of birds that seem to have made their way into several of the pieces collected here.

In Fiction, Richard McCann and Angela Davis-Gardner explore that always uncomfortable territory where family and identity try to navigate between expectation, love, and disappointment. Bryn Chancellor introduces us to an often hilarious, though dark, encounter at an airport between two of life's down-and-outers, and Heather Burt's characters take a journey that crosses the boundaries of culture and country. June Guralnick's short play in the Gallery also crosses a boundary, but this one leads to a possible apocalyptic future.

Also in the Gallery, we are pleased to present a view of Pivot Points, an exhibition of paintings and poems that highlight the relationships between students and teachers. Three generations of artists have work represented here and explain the connections that are forged in artistic friendships that can endure beyond a classroom to echo through a life. This offering serves as an online catalogue for the show and features images and voices.

So welcome once again to Blackbird, an imaginative home for work that can soothe the divisions that afflict us all.  

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A Reading Loop featuring poetry, essays, audio, and video by and about Larry Levis

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William Matthews
Jon Pineda
Brian Teare

Marjorie Agosín
Sally Bowring
Michael Byers
David Daniel
Philip Levine
William Matthews, with
   David Wojahn and
   James Harms
Richard McCann
Ellen Bryant Voigt

Congratulations to Lily Tuck, 2004 National Book Award winner (see Blackbird, Vol. 1 No. 1)

New awards for Blackbird
New books by Blackbird
Blackbird and LOCKSS

Norman Dubie
Elizabeth King
Joshua Poteat