photo and Flash animation by Patrick Scott Vickers and Greg Krull reset
(Left to right) Front Row: Mary Flinn, Susan Settlemyre Williams, Bri Spicer, Patrick Scott Vickers, Avery Beckendorf, Gregory Donovan; Second Row: Randy Marshall, Lulu Panbehchi, Caroline Cahill, Caitlin Harrison, Justin Greene; Third Row: Tim Doerr, Ryan Cales, Katie Lynch, Stephen Kurbel, Vera Brown, Grant White; Fourth Row: Matt Baker, Melinda White, Gregory Kimbrell, Sallie Lupton Jennings, Lenore Gay; Fifth Row: Amira Pierce, Sandra Burke, Meghan Rosatelli, Jennifer Graber, Shannon Murray; Sixth Row: Greg Krull, Jennifer Smith, Dale Smith, Neal Wyatt, Michael Keller (Not pictured: Bridgforth Allen, Mary Lee Allen, Lee Bloxom, Matt Myers, Jeff Lodge)
Blackbird joins individuals from its publishing partners—Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.—with members of the Richmond, Virginia, and Doha, Qatar communities. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only venture at VCU that joins together local and international faculty editors, undergraduate students, MA and MFA students, PhD students, alumni and community volunteers, and a regional non-profit.
In the last three years, Blackbird has benefited from the expertise of graduate assistants in the VCU doctoral program in Media, Art, and Text (MATX). We are grateful for the partnership between the journal and MATX. MATX TAs serve as assistant production editors, but have the opportunity to advance to associate production editors with increased responsibilities. Outgoing associate production editors are Meghan Rosatelli and Melinda White.
Previous associate editors Tarfia Faizullah 2007–2008 Kate Beles 2006–2007 Anna Journey 2005–2006 Steven Collis 2004–2005 Maria Hagan 2003–2004 Tara Moyle 2002–2003 Jamye Shelleby 2001–2002
Each year, Blackbird awards the coveted associate editor position to a second-year VCU graduate student; to qualify, the student must already have been awarded a graduate fellowship and must have worked as an intern for the journal. The associate editor staffs the Blackbird office and is at the center of all the journal’s activities, working to coordinate communication between literary and production editors, as well as between the editors and contributors. The associate editor position is held this year by Mattew Baker who will continue with us through August 2009.
Gregory Donovan, senior literary editor, is a faculty member in Virginia Commonwealth University's creative writing program. He has won many awards for his writing, including the Robert Penn Warren Award from New England Writers (judged by Rosanna Warren), as well as grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and fellowships from the Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Donovan’s poetry collection, Calling His Children Home, won the Devins Award from University of Missouri Press. His work has been published and anthologized widely, recently appearing in Commonwealth: Contemporary Poetry of Virginia from the University of Virginia Press. Donovan also has been Writer-in-Residence for the Chautauqua Institution, the VCU Glasgow Artists and Writers Workshop in Scotland, and currently for Literary and Visual Arts in the Highlands, a VCU summer program which takes writers and visual artists to Lima and Cuzco, Peru.
Mary Flinn, senior literary editor, has been the Director of New Virginia Review, Inc., since 1985 and is the editor, with George Garrett, of Elvis in Oz, New Writing from the Hollins College Creative Writing Program (University of Virginia Press, 1992). She facilitated the editing of The Gazer Within by Larry Levis (University of Michigan Press, 2001), and has served as the poetry and fiction editor of 64 Magazine and as editor of New Virginia Review. Flinn has participated on editors’ panels, as a literature fellowship judge for numerous art councils, and as a review panelist for the National Endowment and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She was the first recipient of the Theresa Pollack Award for Words presented by Richmond Magazine.
M. A. Keller, senior online editor, is a technologist and writing instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English. He took an MFA in creative writing from VCU in 1989. His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, New Virginia Review, Runes, and other publications. He has taught advanced writing, poetry workshops, and courses in hypertext and new media writing. His work currently centers on electronic writing and electronic publication, issues of materiality and multimodal writing, and the question of defining, supporting, and teaching online publishing and new media.
Patrick Scott Vickers, online editor, is a technologist and instructor for Virginia Commonwealth University's English Department and a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program. He graduated in spring 2006 with an MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama. His short story “The Featherless Chicken” was published in the online journal Strange Horizons and his poems have appeared in Mid-American Review and Touchstone. Most recently, his Flash art has appeared in the online journal Failbetter.com.
Matthew Baker, associate editor, is a second-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is responsible for all correspondence with contributors and submitters and tracks all content for the journal into publication. Before serving as associate editor, Baker worked as a Blackbird intern and edited the Blackbird Style Manual. He received his BA in history from Mary Washington College.
Susan Settlemyre Williams, book review editor and associate literary editor, Susan Settlemyre Williams is the author of Ashes in Midair (2008), winner of the 2007 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Book Contest, and a chapbook, Possession (Finishing Line, 2007). Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Mississippi Review, diode, 42opus, Sycamore Review, and Barrow Street, and in the anthologies Letters to the World (Red Hen Press, 2007) and Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar Press). She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Randy Marshall, associate literary editor, earned his MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1997. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Richmond Arts Magazine, GSU Review, Cream City Review, and Blackbird. Marshall, with Mary Flinn, Andrew Miller, and John Venable, edited Larry Levis: The Gazer Within, which was published in 2001 by the University of Michigan Press as part of its Poets on Poetry series. Since 1999, he has been a featured contributor to Platform, a broadside published by New Virginia Review to promote Poetic Principles (an ongoing reading/lecture series that has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts). Selections of his poetry were finalists in the Frank O’Hara Chapbook Competitions for 2004 and 2005.
Jeff Lodge, founding and contributing editor, is the author of Where This Lake Is (White Pines Press, 1997) and, with John A. Brown, A Prayer for Foxes and Hens (forthcoming). He has published fiction, poetry, and essays in GSU Review, Persona, Pleiades, Squib, and other publications, and has written dozens of book reviews for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly. He is an assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Doha, Qatar, where he teaches writing and literature.
Meghan Rosatelli, associate production editor and audio wrangler, is currently a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches courses in popular culture, counterculture, and writing and rhetoric. She has an MA in English writing and rhetoric from VCU and a BA in English creative writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Melinda White, associate production editor and manuscript wrangler, is currently a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a BS in professional and technical writing and an MA in English literature and writing from Utah State University. Her focus is on new media literature, with interests in postmodern print literature, hypertext, and string theory.
Katie Lynch, associate production editor, web developer, and css programmer, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a BFA in crafts from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA from The Ohio State University. Her work focuses on the presence of text in visual art and the relationship between art, science, and technology.
María Lourdes De Panbehchi (Lulú), assistant production editor and pagebuilder, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her interests include foreign languages, computers, and literature. Lulú earned her BA in Spanish literature from the University of Chihuahua, Mexico, and her MA in Spanish from New Mexico State University. She has taught elementary, intermediate, and advanced Spanish for more than twelve years, eight of them at VCU.
Neal Wyatt, assistant production editor, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has an MA in English from VCU and an MS in Library Science from The Catholic University of America. Her focus is on hypertext, reading maps, and the role of the reader.
Lee Bloxom, assistant production editor in charge of the video essay call, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has an MA in English from VCU and a BA in American studies and English from Wellesley College. Her work focuses on how narrative shapes memory, particularly in documentary film and photography.
Jennifer Smith, assistant production editor in charge of the Zero Hour archive project, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a BA in English from the University of Virginia and an MA in English literature from VCU. Her focus is on the intersection of new media literature and traditional literary techniques, with particular interest in the notion of mimetic possibility and strategies of narrative discourse.
Vera Kononova Brown, special project coordinator for the Blackbird index, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. A native of Russia, she has a BA in English with an emphasis on technical/professional writing from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and an MA in English with an emphasis on writing and rhetoric from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her interests include the use of new media in language instruction and in construction of narratives.
Sandra Burke, audio editor, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a BFA in sculpture from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an MFA in sculpture from the University of New Mexico.
Matthew Myers, assistant to the literary editors, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is majoring in English with a double minor in writing and religious studies. Myers spent a year teaching English as a second language in Budapest, Hungary. His poetry has recently appeared in Friction Magazine and his review of Melanie Almeder's On Dream Street was published in the Fall 2008 issue of Blackbird.
Bridgforth Allen, technology advisor, has a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MS in Computational Linguistics from Georgetown. He is an information technologist specializing in digital media productions and has extensive experience in online publishing.
Mary Lee Allen, manuscript reader and proofreader, is secretary for the Center for Palladian Studies in America. She holds an MA in humanities from the University of Richmond and an MA in art history from Virginia Commonwealth University. Allen formerly served as the assistant director of Gunston Hall, a historic house museum in Mason Neck, Virginia. Her book reviews appear frequently in Blackbird.
Lenore Gay, manuscript reader and proofreader, holds an MS in sociology and an MS in rehabilitation counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling at VCU. The Virginia Center for Creative Arts has awarded her two writing fellowships. In 2003 Beacon Press published her essay “Mistresses of Magic” in the anthology In Praise of Our Teachers (Beacon Press, 2003). Her story “The Hobo” earned first prize in the 2005 Style Weekly fiction contest.
Sallie Lupton Jennings, manuscript reader and proofreader, studied literature at Antioch College and has an MA in psychology from New School for Social Research. Retired from careers in vocational rehabilitation counseling and photography, she studied playwriting with William Packard at HB Studios in New York and won a one-act play contest with a staged reading at the Barksdale Theater in Richmond, Virginia, in 2002. She recently published her first poems in the Quaker journal What Canst Thou Say?
Avery Beckendorf, intern and copyeditor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in creative writing and journalism from the University of Central Florida in 2006. She previously worked as editor of The Cypress Dome, the student literary magazine at UCF, and her poetry and fiction have appeared in The Susquehanna Review and Takedown.
Caroline Cahill, intern and public relations coordinator, is a first-year MFA student in poetry. In 2006, she received her BA in communications from the College of Charleston, where she served as an editorial intern for Crazyhorse literary journal.
Ryan Cales, intern and photo editor, is a first-year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a BA in philosophy with a minor in philosophy of law from VCU in 2007.
Justin Greene, intern and pagebuilder, is a third-year MA English student in literature at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a BA in English from VCU in 2004 and will complete his MA degree in May 2009.
Gregory Kimbrell, intern and copyeditor of book reviews, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA in philosophy in 2004 from the College of Charleston. In 2008, he participated in the Crazyhorse/Tupelo Press Publishing Institute, also at the College of Charleston.
Greg Krull, intern and photo editor, is a first-year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his undergraduate degree in communication arts from VCU in 2008 and plans to pursue a PhD.Stephen Kurbel, intern and bio editor, is a first-year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his BA in English and a minor in film studies from Virginia Tech in 2008.
Amira Pierce, special project intern for the Blackbird index, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a BA in literature with a concentration in creative writing from New York University and an MA in literature from San Francisco State University.
R. Dale Smith, intern and pagebuilder, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds degrees from James Madison University and Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. His work has appeared in Other Voices and Presbyterians Today, and he tours regularly with his one-man show Jesus Phreak.
Bri Spicer, intern and photo editor, is a first-year MFA student in fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her BA in writing from the University of Central Arkansas in 2008, with a double minor in history and honors interdisciplinary studies.
Grant White, intern and bio editor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a BA in English and art history from Bowdoin College in 2004.
Timothy Doerr, intern and audio editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May of 2009 with a BA in English.
Jennifer Graber, intern and audio transcriber, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May of 2009 with a BA in English and minors in music and psychology.
Caitlin Harrison, intern and bio editor, is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May of 2011 with a BA in English, a BS in anthropology, and a minor in Spanish.
Shannon Murray, intern and audio transcriber, is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May of 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in religious studies.
Josie Mace, intern and public relations coordinator is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is majoring in English and political science with a minor in creative writing.
& Many Thanks
to all the editors, staff members, and interns who made Blackbird volume 8, number 1, possible.
Congratulations to our photo and images team for working in conversation with the orginal logo by Ronnie Sampson and Nancy Martin of Viridian and the 2008 redesign by Stella Reinhard to create the new logo for our splash page. The efforts of Patrick Vickers, Ryan Cales, Greg Krull, and Bri Spicer produced a number of exciting variations. Our final choice features a repositioned bird, the implied motion of a stolen berry, a blue sky, a haloed moon, and a textured lunar surface. Special thanks to Bri Spicer.
Also, coming up soon are behind the scenes photos of the Blackbird staff at work.
We can’t say enough about our Media, Art, and Text TAs and interns and their help on everything from the core issue to projects yet to be published on our site. Sadly, Meghan Rosatelli and Melinda White step down this spring from their respective roles as Audio Wrangler and Manuscript Wrangler, though we look forward to their ongoing involvement and support of the journal. (Applause and cheers.)
Behind the scenes, thanks to Katherine Lynch, it’s literally a whole new Blackbird. The look is essentially the same, but the code is new and improved in ways that make the journal easier to create in future and that guarantees that the content pages, and their respective print pages, are fed from the same master file.
We also want to thank Caroline Cahill for her leadership on the PR front, especially for her insistence that we look at the "share" service through AddThis, as well as her work in general with our online presence.
And to all others—manuscript readers, content converters, pagebuilders, audio editors, transcribers, and copyeditors all, our sincere thanks.
There are more credits to be drafted and added with the behind the scenes images, so check back soon.
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