Outside Language as We Know It

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In Chiem’s book, being a “private person” can happen when alone with someone who somehow speaks the same language as you, it can happen as a result of a joint smoked alone in an empty hallway, or it can happen when dancing to a Broken Social Scene song that plays over and over. It’s an intimacy all on its own. Continue Reading

Half-Alive, Full of Ghosts

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Her poems spread from the taproot of mental illness and the female psyche, generating a surrealist space of glass teeth, pink crinoline, and bus tickets to nowhere, in which the manic is constantly in conversation with the muse. This relationship changes shape throughout the collection, shifting from the complexities of the mother-daughter dynamic, to the brutality of abuser to abused, to the gentle reflections of lover to beloved. Continue Reading

Taking Pleasure in Perversity

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We all have that friend. The one who tells wild stories beginning on a farm in Iowa and ending inside of the penthouse suite at The Bellagio. Those stories that shock, that titillate, that excite us, and for a reason we cannot fathom, those from which we take a great deal of pleasure. Jean Lorrain’s 1897 French novel Monsieur de Bougrelon—recently translated into English in 2016 by Eva Richter—is the story of that friend, though perhaps a darker and more perverse version of him. Continue Reading

Announcing the Winners of the Bellingham Review’s 2017 Literary Contests

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We are pleased to announce the winners of the Bellingham Review 2017 literary awards—the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, and the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction—selected by contest judges Robert Cording, Julie Marie Wade, and John Dufresne, respectively. The winners will each receive an award of $1,000 and will be published in the Spring 2018 print issue of Bellingham Review. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Sarah Vallance

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I once heard Michael Cunningham say that fear is the biggest hindrance to writing well. He said that the best writers are those who aren’t afraid to write poorly. They do not worry about how their work will be received or whether and where they will publish it. They write because the act of writing is fun. This is a great reminder when motivation starts to wane. Sure, writing is hard work but it’s also about invention and play. The very act is its own reward. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Kate Crosby

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I once heard Michael Cunningham say that fear is the biggest hindrance to writing well. He said that the best writers are those who aren’t afraid to write poorly. They do not worry about how their work will be received or whether and where they will publish it. They write because the act of writing is fun. This is a great reminder when motivation starts to wane. Sure, writing is hard work but it’s also about invention and play. The very act is its own reward. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Kathryn Smith

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One thing that keeps me writing is having a network of poets to share work and ideas with. “Self-Portrait” came about from reading Maya’s work and responding to some of her images and ideas through my own lens. Her poetry is, generally speaking, more personal than mine, and I admire it for that, and with this poem I let her striking honesty guide me into a more personal territory of my own. Continue Reading

Gore, Grit, Gristle, Bone

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In the darkest fairy and folk tales, there is the hollow sound of wood chopping to comfort abandoned children. There’s a wolf waiting in forest shadows for a red hood. There’s an intricately carved box meant to hold a girl’s insides, but a pig heart glistens in its stead, warm and leaking. In Julia Bouwsma’s debut poetry collection, Work by Bloodlight, readers will find the hungry children, the predators, the pig heart steaming in its own reek, and precious little comfort. Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Frances Backhouse

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I think Canada is too big and too geographically diverse to contain a single aesthetic to writing about place and space—and for that, I’m grateful. Across our sea-to-sea-to-sea country, there’s room for a multiplicity of approaches to writing ourselves into and out from our landscapes. However, that doesn’t mean the full range of voices is making it into print. The more we hear from marginalized writers of all kinds—but especially Indigenous writers, whose roots go deepest—the more nuanced our understanding of place and space will become. Continue Reading

Bellingham Review Publishes Issue 74

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The Bellingham Review is pleased to announce the publication of the fourth issue under the editorship of S. Paola Antonetta, Issue 74, which includes a special section of new writing from Canadian women titled “Place and Space in Canada,” the winners of our annual literary contests, as well as a remarkable collection of stories, poems, and essays from US and international writers. The issue features the painting “The Coming Storm” from Susan Bennerstrom, and we are thrilled to share it with you. Continue Reading

Between Creator and Creature

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What surprised me about these poems was finding out that part of Babbage’s impulse to quantify was to know the unknowable, “to calculate the probability that the dead will rise again,” how he might recapture those he lost: “Come back, he whispers, but the world he returns to remains flush / with the unwished for: the fading back of the lover turned to dust . . . ” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Nancy Gomez

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I was teaching a poetry workshop at Salinas Valley State Prison. There’s so much sensory deprivation there—everything drab and colorless, but the men in the class are hungry for scholarly conversations. I shared an article on how language shapes our perceptions. In one study, children from a tribe whose lexicon didn’t include a word for blue were less able to “see” blue. This led to a discussion about how poets try to describe things for which words don’t already exist. Then someone asked, “Do they ever discover new colors?” Continue Reading

Contributor Spotlight: Leah Claire Kaminski

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These pieces were both written while sitting on a patio in Irvine, CA, the ur-suburb where I’ve lived since grad school. Irvine is a strange place, and not one I love unreservedly, but where I am, the area around the university, there’s some untouched riparian wilderness left (as well as a golf course and some sculpted parks where nature makes do) so outside the patio in my apartment complex was this fake pond and there would often be a Great Blue Heron pacing there and picking up sticks for its nest, or Cooper’s Hawks circling. When I wrote each of these two poems, I was sitting on that patio, watching that pond for signs of the next poem. Continue Reading