This time of year the cozy seaside town of Bellingham, which our journal must thank for providing both a namesake and a home, is nearly done shedding its leaves. The salt-air is crisp and misty. The light is grey and limited but still it comes, for a few hours at least. Over the past month we have gone the way of much of our wildlife and hunkered down against the chill, trading out afternoon strolls for hours behind our desks, heat cranked, coffee poured, pens at the ready, to prepare the issue you see before you.
Unlike our quiet November month, Issue 77 is full of animate, flourishing life. Here, you will find stories, essays, poetry, and hybrid work that demonstrate the power of language to convey truth in all its forms—be it beautiful or ugly, frightening or mundane, sorrowful or ecstatic, invited or uninvited. Truth is a slippery concept in any creative genre, no doubt, but we as writers and readers can likely agree that there is value in seeking out expressions of authenticity, of demanding empathy, of forming new connection, new paths, new ethos.
As you pass through this issue, take special notice of Tropes of Disability, a feature showcasing work by recent Peabody Award winner DJ Savarese, Jillian Weise (and her alter ego Tipsy Tullivan), Stephen Kuusisto, and Donna Minkowitz. Our editor-in-chief, Susanne Paola Antonetta, has written an introduction to this feature, of which I welcome you to read here.
In a second feature, you will find Forgotten Greats: Ella Rhoads Higginson. A very successful late 19th and early 20th century Pacific Northwest writer, Higginson’s work spent decades in near-complete obscurity—until now, thanks to the recovery efforts of Laura Laffrado. Many of Higginson’s poems are set within Bellingham and the surrounding area, making them very near and dear to this journal’s heart.
Issue 77 is dressed in the beautiful photography of David Scherrer. Water Wall shows us a child playing with a sheet of falling water. The outside world is transformed into the scattered brushstrokes of an impressionist painting—only the child’s outstretched hand remains in focus. Caught between two worlds, our view of reality is unsettled. Sharing in the spirit of Water Wall, Issue 77 challenges readers to reencounter what they thought was true.
On a final note, thank you to our contributors and our readers for your support. There are many ways to define a literary journal—one is that a journal is simply a home for works to visit with readers. The Bellingham Review is, and will always be, honored to be that home. The current state of affairs in the world should strengthen our community’s resolve to remove the barriers that separate us, to encounter truth, to enter that liminal space where resonance lives. In the ensuing works, we hope you find that space as we have.