(Left to right) Front Row: Patrick Scott Vickers; Second Row: Mary Flinn, Hattie Francis, Sheila Shedd, Susan Settlemyre Williams, Emilia Phillips, Gregory Donovan; Third Row: Steve Mahone, Lauren Miner, Ross Losapio, Suzanne Mancini; Fourth Row: Ben Orth, John Paul Carlton, Grant White, Katelyn Kiley, Michael Beskin; Fifth Row: Lenore Gay, Ann Evans, Gregory Kimbrell, Evan Howell; Sixth Row: Randy Marshall, John Schell, M.A. Keller.
(Not pictured: Jeff Lodge, Patty Paine, Chrissie Lozano Griffith, Neal Wyatt, Stephan Bayless, Nathan Plummer, Michael Rackett, Drew Wylam, Sallie Jennings.)
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 Emilia Phillips 2010-2011 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.
Gregory Donovan, senior editor, is a faculty member in Virginia Commonwealth University’s creative writing program. Among other awards for his writing, he received 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 is the author of Calling His Children Home (1993), which won the Devins Award for Poetry from University of Missouri Press, as well as poetry, essays, and fiction published in The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Chautauqua, storySouth, 42opus, diode, The Southern Quarterly, and elsewhere. His work has also been anthologized frequently, most recently in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia from University of Virginia Press (2003). Donovan has often served as guest faculty for summer conferences such as those held by the Chautauqua Writers’ Center and the Other Words Conference of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition. He has also helped to establish VCU summer programs for writers and visual artists in Scotland and in Peru.
Mary Flinn, senior 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, web coordinator, 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. Most recently, his chapter "Meghan Sapnar's 'Car Wash' as a New Media Sonnet" appears in RAW!: Reading and Writing New Media (Hampton Press 2010). He has taught advanced writing, poetry workshops, and courses in hypertext and new media. His work currently centers on electronic writing, 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.
Randy Marshall, senior 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.
Susan Settlemyre Williams, book review editor and associate literary editor, 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 numerous journals, including Mississippi Review, diode, 42opus, Sycamore Review, and Shenandoah, 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.
Emilia Phillips, lead associate editor, is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a BA in English: writing. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from 42opus, The Adirondack Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Conte, Cutthroat, Indiana Review, Poetry Miscellany, Sixth Finch, Superstition Review, and Unsaid Magazine. In July 2009, she was named Cutthroat’s “Discovery Poet,” and in 2010 she received an honorable mention in the Catherine and Joan Byrne Poetry Prize, the Academy of American Poets Prize awarded by VCU. Her chapbook is Strange Meeting (Eureka Press, 2010).
Grant White, associate editor emeritus, is a third-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He assists with a wide range of tasks related to the production of the magazine, including copy editing, audio capture, and contributor correspondence. Before serving as associate editor, White served as bio editor for Blackbird. He has published reviews of three books in Blackbird: Heathen by Leslie Wheeler (v9n1), Miscreants by James Hoch (v8n2), and The Learners by Chip Kidd (v8n1). White holds a BA in English and art history from Bowdoin College.
Gregory Kimbrell, associate production editor, manuscript wrangler, and lead copyeditor, is a third-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the 2010–2011 Levis Fellow for the coordination of the conference Larry Levis: A Celebration and the 14th annual Levis Reading Prize contest. His review of Boys Whistling like Canaries by Jorn Ake appears in issue v9n1 of the journal. 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.
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 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.
Jeff Lodge, founding editor and contributing editor for the v9n2 Gulf Poets Suite, is the author of the novel Where This Lake Is (White Pine Press, 1997). He has published fiction, poetry, and essays in GSU Review, Makeout Creek, Persona, Pleiades, Squib, and other publications, and has written dozens of book reviews for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly, both of Richmond, Virginia, USA. He is co-editor of diode poetry journal. He is an assistant professor of core education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
Patty Paine, contributing editor for the v9n2 Gulf Poets Suite, is the author of Elegy & Collapse (Finishing Line Press, 2005). Her writing and interviews have appeared in Gulf Stream, Blackbird, and Atlanta Review, among other publications. She is the founding editor of diode poetry journal, and her scholarly work has appeared in The International Journal of the Humanities and The Journal of the World Universities Forum. She is an assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature. Her book Oracle Bones is forthcoming in 2011.
Chrissie Lozano Griffith, associate production editor and senior audio editor, is a second–year student in the MA English literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in English from VCU in 2008.
Neal Wyatt, associate production editor and senior audio features editor, is a PhD student in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received a MA in English from VCU and a MS in library science from the Catholic University of America.
Sheila Shedd, second-semester literary intern and lead bio editor, is a second-year student in the MA English literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work appears in The Great Richmond Zombie Book (Sink/Swim Press, 2010). Shedd holds a BA in art history with a minor in studio art from the University of California, Irvine.
Stephan Bayless, volunteer manuscript reader and photo editor, has a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University with minors in Writing and British Studies. He has served as Senior Editor of Opus Literary Magazine and maintains a blog featuring original work and reviews of graphic fiction.
Michael Beskin, literary intern and audio editor, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and will graduate in May 2011 with a BA in English and minors in writing and religious studies.
John Paul Carlton, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a first student year MA English student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA in English from James Madison University in 2008.
Ann Evans, literary intern and audio editor, received her BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2008 and will be graduating with an MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University in December 2010.
Hattie Francis, literary intern and public relations coordinator, is a first-year student in the MA English literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her BA in English with a minor in history from Virginia Tech.
Evan Howell, literary intern and bio editor, is a first-year student in the MA Writing and Rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his BA in English from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005.
Katelyn Kiley, literary intern and copyeditor, is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received an MA in English language & literature from the University of Virginia. Before joining the staff of Blackbird, she worked as an editorial intern at albemarle Magazine and on the staff of Meridian.
Ross Losapio, literary intern and copyeditor, is a New Jersey native and first-year MFA poetry student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland with a BA in Writing and English. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Soundings East, Italian Americana, Interrobang?! Magazine, Naugatuck River Review, the delinquent, Instigatorzine, Verse Wisconsin, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Milk Money, The Chaffin Journal, The Emerson Review, and the South Mountain Poets’ 2010 anthology of New Jersey poets. He has also self-published a chapbook of poems entitled The Measure of Healing, and his book reviews have appeared in RATTLE and Verse Wisconsin.
Steve Mahone, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a first-year student in the MA writing and rhetoric program at Virginia Commonwealth University. His writing has been published in Currents, and one of his stories received 3rd place honors for the William D. Wolf Short Story Award. He earned his BA in sociology concentrating in criminology, while minoring in writing, from Christopher Newport University in 2007.
Suzanne Mancini, literary intern and photo editor, will graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2011 with a BA in English and minors in women’s studies and writing.
Lauren Miner, literary intern and copyeditor, is a first-year student in the MA literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a BA in English from James Madison University in 2007.
Ben Orth, literary intern and copyeditor, is a first-year student in the MA English literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA in fiction writing, with a minor in literature, from Columbia College, Chicago in 2008.
Nathan Plummer, intern and copy editor, will graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in December of 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in creative writing. He plans to continue his studies by pursuing an MFA in fiction.
Michael Rackett, second-semester production intern and copyeditor, 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 second-year MA student in writing and rhetoric at Virginia Commonwealth University.
John Schell, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a first-year student in the MA Literature program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA in English from the University of Mary Washington.
Drew Wylam, literary intern and pagebuilder, is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He will be graduating with a BA in English in May 2011, with minors in creative writing, religious studies, and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.
& Many Thanks
to all the editors, staff members, interns, and volunteers who made Blackbird volume 9, number 2, 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 goes to Neal Wyatt, associate production editors and senior audio editor; Vera Kononova Brown for her creation of the Blackbird index, which will appear shortly and for her continuing role as an advising editor; and Katie Lynch likewise for her work in recoding the journal and her ongoing support as an advising editor.
For Chrissie Griffith, for taking the lead on the audio team. To Gregory Kimbrell for his bold leadership on the copyediting front and to Grant White for his unflappable good nature and return as an advisor to the associate editor.
Special thanks to M.A. Keller and Patrick Scott Vickers for their work in design and presentation of the journal, especially for those pieces that required special attention including the Gulf Poets Suite and other translations, Richard Carlyon's “Postcards to Aix,” Sebastian Matthews's “Messages in a Bottle: Notes from an Unlikely Curator,” and David Wojahn's "Ochre.”
For all of those staff members who were involved with the preparation and production of “Ochre," especially Emilia Phillips who mangaged the project. (Full acknowledgments for this piece may be accessed through the “Ochre” Table of Contents.)
To Brad Pearce, for his time assisting the associate editor. Stephan Bayless for all the volunteer hours in reading and production, as well as our other volunteers readers including Lenore Gay and Sallie Jennings.
And to all others—manuscript readers, content converters, pagebuilders, audio editors, transcribers, and copyeditors all, our sincere appreciation.
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