(Left to right) Front Row: Patrick Scott Vickers, Joey Kingsley; Second Row: Mary Flinn, Lulú Panbehchi, Sheila Cristofaro, Rachel Thom, Sallie Lupton Jennings, Gregory Donovan; Third Row: Alvin Malpaya, Emilia Phillips, Amanda Joyce, Chrissie Lozano Griffith, Ashley Rattner, Modu l. Fofana-Kamara; Fourth Row: Grant White, Michael Rackett, Makiko Wholey, James Moffit, Randy Marshall, Gregory Kimbrell; Fifth Row: Joey Chirico, Neal Wyatt, Michael Keller; (Not pictured: Bridgforth Allen, Mary Lee Allen, Lee Bloxom, John Bresland, Vera Kononova Brown, Travis Coghill, Brittany Edwards, Lenore Gay, Heather Hajek, Jeff Lodge, Katie Lynch, Jim Metz, Catherine Moore, Susan Settlemyre Williams.)
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 international collaborators, undergraduate students, MA and MFA students, PhD students, alumni and community volunteers, and a regional non-profit.
Blackbird has benefited in the past few years 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.
Lead Associate Editors Grant White 2009–2010 Matthew Baker 2008–2009 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 lead 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 lead associate 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 lead Associate Editor position is held 2009–2010 by Grant White. Emilia Phillips joins us as the 2010–2011 lead associate mid-August, 2010.
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 (1993), won the Devins Award for Poetry from University of Missouri Press. His work has been published and anthologized widely, recently appearing in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia from University of Virginia Press (2003). Donovan 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 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 courses in 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 Department of English 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 poetry and fiction have been published in Strange Horizons, Mid–American Review, Touchstone, and miraclemonocle.com. His Flash art has appeared in the online journal failbetter.com.
Grant White, associate editor, is a second–year MFA student in poetry 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, White served as bio editor for Blackbird. His review of Miscreants by James Hoch appears in the v8n2 issue of the magazine. He earned a BA in English and art history from Bowdoin College in 2004.
Susan Settlemyre Williams, book review editor and associate literary editor, is the author of a chapbook, Possession (Finishing Line Press, 2007), and the collection of poems Ashes in Midair (2008), winner of the 2007 Many Mountains Moving Press Poetry Contest judged by Yusef Komunyakaa. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Mississippi Review, Shenandoah, 42opus, Sycamore Review, The Marlboro Review, and other journals. One of her poems won the 2006 Diner Poetry Contest and was selected for Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar Press, 2006). 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 Award Chapbook Competitions for 2004 and 2005.
Jeff Lodge, founding and advising 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 a writing instructor in the Focused Inquiry program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
John Bresland, curator and contributing editor for the v9n1 Video Essay Suite. Bresland works in video, audio, and print. His audio essays have aired on public radio’s Weekend America, and his video essays can be seen at Ninth Letter and Requited. His print essays can be read in North American Review, Hotel Amerika, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and new media at Northwestern University
Lee Bloxom, advising editor for the v9n1 Video Essay Suite, 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.
María Lourdes De Panbehchi (Lulú), associate production editor and lead pagebuilder, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her BA in Spanish literature from the University of Chihuahua, Mexico, and her MA in Spanish from New Mexico State University.
Neal Wyatt, associate production editor and senior audio 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 work focuses on mapping remediation with particular interest in narrative, textuality, and the role of the reader.
Gregory Kimbrell, associate production editor, manuscript wrangler, lead copyeditor, and special–project coordinator, is a second–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.
Catherine Moore, assistant production editor and audio editor, is a first–year PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and studied comparative literature at Harvard University.
Chrissie Lozano Griffith, asssistant audio editor, is a second–year student in the MA English literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008.
Vera Kononova Brown, advising production editor 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 VCU. Her interests include the use of new media in language instruction, iconography, and stereographic imaging.
Katie Lynch, advising production editor for web development and css programming, 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 at 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.
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, volunteer manuscript reader, has an MS in sociology and an MS in rehabilitation counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her essay “Mistresses of Magic” is included in the anthology In Praise of Our Teachers (Beacon Press, 2003) and her short story “The Hobo” won first prize in Style Weekly’s 2005 fiction contest. She has been awarded two writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Gay is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling at VCU.
Sallie Lupton Jennings, volunteer manuscript reader, holds an MA in psychology from the New School for Social Research and studied playwriting with William Packard at HB Studios in New York. Her poems appear in the Quaker journal What Canst Thou Say? and her one–act play was read at the Barksdale Theater in Richmond in 2002.
Travis Coghill, intern and pagebuilder, is a first–year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA in English from VCU in 2007.
Joey Chirico, intern and audio editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May of 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.
Brittany Edwards, intern and pagebuilder, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in May 2010 with a BA in English.
Modu L. Fofana–Kamara, intern and pagebuilder, is a second–year student in the MA writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a BA in broadcast journalism from High Point University, North Carolina.
Heather Hajek, intern and photo editor, is a first–year MA student in the writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating in December 2010. She earned a BA in English from James Madison University in 2008.
Amanda Joyce, intern and bio editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. She will receive her BA in English with minors in religious studies and women’s studies in spring 2010.
Joey Kingsley, intern and photo editor, is a first–year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross in 2009, with a minor in studio art and a concentration in creative writing. While at Holy Cross, she served as editor of The Purple, a literary journal, and as lead copy editor of the student newspaper, The Crusader.
Alvin Malpaya, intern and associate manuscript wrangler, is a second–year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his BA in English from George Mason University in 2006.
Jim Metz, volunteer manuscript reader, has a BA in English from Duke University and an MS in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University.
James Moffitt, intern and features wrangler, is a second–year student in the MA English writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also owns and operates Sink/Swim Press, an independent publishing house.
Emilia Phillips, public relations coordinator and copy editor, is a first–year MFA poetry student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a BA in English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she served on the staff of the Sequoya Review, an undergraduate literary publication. Her poetry has appeared in 42opus, The Adirondack Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Cutthroat, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Miscellany, Sixth Finch, Unsaid Magazine, and elsewhere. She was named the 2009 Discovery Poet by Cutthroat. Her chapbook of poems, Strange Meeting, was published by Eureka Press in March 2010.
Michael Rackett, intern and photo editor, holds a PhD in religion from Duke University, an MA from a denominational seminary, and a BA in religion from the College of William and Mary. Rackett is currently a first–year MA student in writing and rhetoric at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ashley Rattner, intern and photo editor, will graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in the spring of 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in religious studies.
Sheila Shedd, intern and bio editor, is a first–year MA student in the English literature program at VCU. She received her BA in art history with a minor in studio art from the University of California, Irvine.
Rachel Thom, intern and copy editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be completing her BA in English in the summer of 2010. She plans to further her studies by pursuing a Master’s degree in publishing.
Makiko Wholey, intern and pagebuilder, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will graduate in May of 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing.
& Many Thanks
to all the editors, staff members, and interns who made Blackbird volume 9, number1, possible.
We'll repeat from previous issues that 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. Particular thanks to Lulú De Panbehchi, and Neal Wyatt, respectively, for yeoman’s service as chief pagebuilder and audio wrangler. Thanks also to Vera Kononova Brown for her creation of the Blackbird index, which will appear shortly and for her continuing role as an advising editor.
Continuing thanks to Katherine Lynch likewise for her work in recoding the journal and her ongoing support (as an advising editor) and to Lee Bloxom's for her earlier work with video essays that came to fruition in v9n1.
Also to John Bresland who came on board from afar to help bring the staff, and the Blackbird audience, up to speed on the video essay, including new work of his own.
And to all others—manuscript readers, content converters, pagebuilders, audio editors, transcribers, and copyeditors all, our sincere appreciation.
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