While online media are still experimental tools for literary publication and no one can be certain exactly what kinds of differences they will make in linking writers and audiences, it is our assumption that one fundamental editorial principle applies in this realm as it does in the print realm. That sole principle is excellence. Writing published by this journal will be the very best available, and it is the first responsibility of the editors—by selective solicitation, and by intelligent winnowing—to make certain that this is always the case. Each issue of Blackbird will be permanently archived online. We are also committed to the principle that writers should be paid for their work.
While it is true that excellence can be differently defined and construed, our primary definition will be this: Beyond simple obvious criteria such as “well written in a variety of technical senses,” and “original in terms of subject and style,” excellent writing challenges traditions in profound ways, and is radical insofar as it is aware of its own origins in tradition and seeks to expand the boundaries of the realm of discourse of which it is a part. The editors are committed to seeking out such writing and to encouraging and challenging writers to produce it.