Journal Spotlight

The journal Blackbird is produced with help from Virginia Commonwealth University. It is an online journal with very little tolerance for website dazzle. On its about page, we learn, "We have kept Blackbird structurally simple in order to emphasize the quality of its content and to make reading, viewing, and listening to it as effortless—technologically speaking—as possible." In a land of html hijinks, this journal is refreshing. It tells you the optimal screen resolution to view Blackbird, and on all content pages they provide an optimized version for printing.

What Blackbird loses in attractiveness it makes up for in content. An interesting poem using Stephen Hawking as a poetic subject by Stefi Weisburd is below, but in the current issue there are many poems that work well and I encourage you to discover what they have to offer.

Hawking in Zero-G

On April 26, 2007, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking
experienced microgravity aboard a modified Boeing 727.

At the peak of the arc, you sail
in the weightless freight of your body
stiff arms crossed like a mummy.

The 727’s apogee
disables gravity, and
your face goes nova-bright.

Laid down again for the dive,
still grinning as the plane careens
through eight full swoops and

swoons. Joy as loud as terror.
Someone lets loose a Red Delicious,
and Newton’s apple crests, the praxis

of ballistic art. Forget the errors
spooled down the helix. Forget
the withering that hobbled

limbs and chest, bobble head,
atrophy, slumped in the claw
of a wheelchair on stage, your canned

voice calling to the universe.
In zero-g, the heart
is as round as an orb. Space

here I come, stocked
with star clusters like relief
ganglia to repair your shorted

lines. On the plane,
the preagreed signal was
a grimace for stop

or your eyebrows raised
for keep going & you never
put them down.

Granted, the ending approaches sentimentality, but I feel the poem avoids it. Thoughts?

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